Preliminary Experiments on a Microbial Fuel Cell

Science  24 Aug 1962:
Vol. 137, Issue 3530, pp. 615-616
DOI: 10.1126/science.137.3530.615


Experiments were initiated to determine whether microbes using a hydrocarbon as food could generate electrical energy. Experiments with ethane were unsuccessful, but when microbes or glucose oxidase were added to a solution of glucose, electrical output was observed, confirming in part previous observations. As far as we know, no one had previously tested hydrocarbons in this manner, although the several effects of microbial activity on redox potential are well known. Failure of the microbes employed to dehydrogenate ethane in the absence of molecular oxygen is discussed in the light of recently published experimental evidence.