Bioelectricity production by Trichoderma viride using corn husk, corn cob residue and banana peel as substrates

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Abstract

Microbial  fuel  cell  is  a  recent  alternative  for  the generation   of   electricity.   These   cells   (MFC’s) operate on the basis of microbial metabolism and produce current from a variety of organic substrates. In this study electricity generation with corn husk, corn cob residue and banana peel by the fungus Trichoderma  viride  has  been  undertaken.  It  was found that maximum electricity was generated when corn husk was used as a substrate although electricity was generated by the use of other two substrates also.

Introduction

Carbon dioxide emission from conversion of fossil fuels contributes to global warming and thereby demands an alternative energy production based on renewable sources like solar energy, wind, water and biomass (De Vries et al., 2007) [1]. The production of energy from biomass is important for production of sustainable energy and minimizing emissions of CO2. Hydrogen gas can be biologically produced by fermentation of sugars (Ginkel et al., 2001; Logan et al., 2002) [2]  but fermentation process can produce only 33%  of  the  maximum potential energy  from sugar such as glucose. In contrast to production of electricity indirectly from organic materials using biologically generated Hydrogen (H2), it is now known that the electricity can also be directly generated by the degradation of organic matter in the microbial fuel cell (MFC) (Logan et al., 2004). A MFC is a bioreactor that converts the energy stored in chemical bond in organic compounds directly into current through catalytic reaction of microorganism under   anaerobic   condition   (Bond   and   Lovely,

2003)[3]. MFC consists of two chambers – an aerobic cathode chamber and an anaerobic anode chamber partitioned by an ion conducting membrane which is usually a proton exchange membrane. At the anode, organic      substrates      fed      are  oxidized by microorganism. The electrons which are produced are transferred from anode to cathode through an external circuit. Protons produced at anode migrate through the  solution  of  anode  across  the  proton  exchange membrane to cathode where they react with Oxygen (O2) and electrons to form water (H2O) (Antonopoulo et  al., 2009)[4].   Corn husk, corn cob residue and banana peel are a rich source of cellulose (Debabandya et al., 2010)[5]  and Trichoderma viride is known to produce cellulases that hydrolyse that cellulose.  The  current  paper  deals with  electricity generation in MFC by T. viride using the above said substrates.

Conclusion

Cellulose rich substrates such as corn husk can be

efficiently utilized by T.viride for bioelectricity production. This preliminary work has a wide scope as various substrates can be explored with an aim to minimize the use of fossil fuels.

References

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[2]Liu H. and Logan   B.   E.,   (2004).   “Electricity Generation                                                      Using an Air•Cathode Single Chamber  Microbial Fuel Cell in the Presence and Absence of                                      a Proton Exchange Membrane”, Environmental

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