Augmenting atrazine and hexachlorobenzene degradation under different soil redox conditions in a bioelectrochemistry system and an analysis of the relevant microorganisms
Abstract Soil microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a sustainable technology that degrades organic pollutants while generating electricity. However, there have been no detailed studies of the mechanisms of pollutant degradation in soil MFCs. In this study, the effects of external resistance and electrode effectiveness on atrazine and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) degradation were evaluated, the performance of soil MFCs in the degradation of these pollutants under different soil redox conditions was assessed, and the associated microorganisms in the anode were investigated. With an external resistance of 20Ω, the degradation efficiencies of atrazine and HCB were 95% and 78%, respectively. The degradation efficiency, degradation rate increased with decreasing external resistance, while the half-life decreased. There were different degradation trends for different pollutants under different soil redox conditions. The fastest degradation rate of atrazine was in the upper MFC section (aerobic), whereas that of HCB was in the lower MFC section (anaerobic). The results showed that electrode effectiveness played a significant role in pollution degradation. In addition, the microbial community analysis demonstrated that Proteobacteria, especially Deltaproteobacteria involved in current generation was extremely abundant (27.49%) on soil MFC anodes, although the percentage abundances of atrazine degrading Rhodocyclaceae (8.77%), Desulfitobacterium (0.64%), and HCB degrading Desulfuromonas (0.73%), were considerably lower. The results of the study suggested that soil MFCs can enhance the degradation of atrazine and HCB, and bioelectrochemical reduction was the main mechanism for the pollutants degradation. Highlights Different degradation trends for different pollutants were under different soil redox conditions. Electrode effectiveness played a significant role in pollution degradation. Deltaproteobacteria was extremely abundant on soil MFC anodes. Bioelectrochemical reduction was the main mechanism for atrazine and HCB degradation.
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