Characterization of a new composite membrane for point of need paper-based micro-scale microbial fuel cell analytical devices

Autoři: María Jesús González-Pabón aff001;  Federico Figueredo aff001;  Diana C. Martínez-Casillas aff001;  Eduardo Cortón aff001
Působiště autorů: Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioanalysis (LABB), Departamento de Química Biológica and IQUIBICEN-CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222538


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) can evolve in a viable technology if environmentally sound materials are developed and became available at low cost for these devices. This is especially important not only for the designing of large wastewater treatment systems, but also for the fabrication of low-cost, single-use devices. In this work we synthesized membranes by a simple procedure involving easily-biodegradable and economic materials such as poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA), chitosan (CS) and the composite PVA:CS. Membranes were chemical and physically characterized and compared to Nafion®. Performance was studied using the membrane as separator in a typical H-Type MFCs showing that PVA:CS membrane outperform Nafion® 4 times (power production) while being 75 times more economic. We found that performance in MFC depends over interactions among several membrane characteristics such as oxygen permeability and ion conductivity. Moreover, we design a paper-based micro-scale MFC, which was used as a toxicity assay using 16 μL samples containing formaldehyde as a model toxicant. The PVA:CS membrane presented here can offer low environmental impact and become a very interesting option for point of need single-use analytical devices, especially in low-income countries where burning is used as disposal method, and toxic fluoride fumes (from Nafion®) can be released to the environment.

Klíčová slova:

Membrane electrophysiology – Membrane potential – Oxygen – Protons – Toxicity – Artificial membranes – Cross-linking – Anodes


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