This project faces the challenge of developinga fully biological MEC for agro-industrial wastewater treatment and product recovery, combining anodic oxidising microbial community and reductive cathodic biofilm controlled by biological triggers. Such innovative (anode and cathode both biological) MEC will constitute a technological brick within the concept of environmental biorefinery. Besides this technical aim, the project will focus on the acquisition of fundamental knowledge on microbial metabolic interactions occurring in exoelectrogenic mixed cultures.
Practical implementation of BioEra will follow four research steps: i) the development of a stable anodic (electroactive + fermentative) microbial community able to efficiently oxidize industrial wastewater with characterization of anodic microbial communities interactions. ii) the study the possibility of decreasing the cathodic over potential by the use of a cathodic biofilm that either increases hydrogen production rate or uses this hydrogen as an electron donor for other biological process. iii) Develop a fully biological MEC for industrial wastewater treatment and elemental sulfur recovery in lab scale systems by coupling the anodic community and an autotrophic sulfate degrading cathodic biofilm. iv) Provide the guidelines for the scale-up of the most effective developed fully biological MEC system