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Extracellular electron transfer of biocathodes: Revealing the potentials for nitrate and nitrite reduction of denitrifying microbiomes dominated by Thiobacillus sp

The use of biocathodes in bioelectrochemical systems (BES) for the removal of nitrate in wastewater has become a vital field of research. However, the elucidation of the underlying extracellular electron transfer (EET) fundamentals of denitrifying biocathodes is still lacking, but required for a deeper BES understanding and engineering. This study reports for the first time on the thermodynamics of microbial cathodes for nitrate and nitrite reductions using microbial microcosms isolated from a running denitrifying BES. Cyclic voltammetry showed that nitrate and nitrite reduction proceed at -0.30 V, and -0.70 V vs. Ag/AgCl, respectively, by surface associated EET sites. The biocathodes were predominantly covered byThiobacillus sp. contributing with a nitrate reductase (narG) to the major function of the microscosms. In conclusion, the EET characteristics of denitrifying biocathodes are demonstrated for the first time.

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