Do Microbial Fuel Cells have Antipathogenic Properties?

Olga Vasieva, Anatoly Sorokin, Lukasz Szydlowski, I Goryanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During 2015-2017 we have conducted experiments in Japan to test the capacity of microbial fuel cells (MFC) to treat different types of wastewaters (swine farm, domestic, yeast fermentation, winery, etc.) and concomitantly collecting DNA samples from MFC anodic and planktonic bacterial communities. W e analyzed these metagenomes in UK, using our new bioinformatics tool (ASAR) that allow integration of phylogenetic and functional data. Characteristic MFC communities and the associated functional signatures were shown to reflect effective waste water treatment. We also found that the fraction of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria DNA was reduced in metagenomes from MFC communities during swine waste treatment. The highest loss was recorded for Enterobacteriaceae family (such as Yersinia, Vibrio, and Shigella). The abundance of virulent genes responsible for adhesion, secretion systems, invasion and intracellular survival, as well as antibiotic resistance, associated with Firmicutes and Actinobacteria phyla of Gram-positive bacteria, also decreased in the MFC residential metagenomes. Key metabolic functions were redistributed among bacteria on the anode and archaea in plankton. We propose to use MFC, inoculated with electroactive bacterial communities, for waste disinfection, and potentially for development of novel antibacterial therapies. This approach promises to be effective and economically justified, especially in cases of epidemics of enterobacteria-associated diseases, and common residential hospital pathogens such as Enterococcus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Computer Science and Systems Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2019

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