Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

First Advisor

R. S. Norman


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) use proton exchange membranes (PEMs) to deliver protons to the cathode for electricity production. MFCs have been limited to low power generation because of complex ionic media characteristic of MFCs using the conventional Nafion-based PEM with high attraction for the competing ions. Benthic microbial fuel cells (BMFCs) use the marine sediment between the anode, embedded in marine sediment, and cathode, overlying in water, as a PEM. BMFCs have been shown to generate high power densities representing high proton permeability by the marine sediment layer between the anode and cathode. However, there is limited knowledge about this BMFC marine sediment layer. In this study, marine sediment from Charleston, South Carolina will be used to perform a metagenomic microbial community analysis of 16S rRNA genes. Microbial proton exchange membranes (MPEM) will be created by placing nylon membranes directly onto sediment and then extracting them for subsequent generations of MPEMs under conditions designed to isolate optimal organisms. After growing first generation microbes on nylon membrane, the microbes in the membrane will be fluorescently labeled for enriched. From the isolated first generation microbes, a second generation MPEM will be replicated, characterize and evaluated just as the first generation. A comparative analysis will be completed of first and second generations to further identify patterns of selection through time.

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Public Health Commons