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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.
Bioelectricity, Trichoderma Viride, Corn Husk, Corn Cob Residue, Banana Peel
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) . 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)  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). 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). Corn husk, corn cob residue and banana peel are a rich source of cellulose (Debabandya et al., 2010) 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.
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.
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