In this study, we performed microbial community analysis to examine microbial diversity and community structure in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) seeded with activated sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant in South Korea. Because anode-attached biofilm populations are particularly important in electricity transfer, the ecological characteristics of anode-attached biofilm microbes were explored and compared with those of microbes grown in suspension in an anode chamber. 16S rDNA-based community analysis showed that the degree of diversity in anode-attached biofilms was greater than that of the originally seeded activated sludge as well as that of the suspension-grown microbes in the anode bottle. In addition, Bacteroidetes and Clostridia grew preferentially during MFC electricity generation. Further phylogenetic analysis revealed that the anode biofilm populations described in this work are phylogenetically distant from previously characterized MFC anode biofilm microbes. These findings suggest that a phylogenetically diverse set of microbes can be involved in the electricity generation of MFC anode compartments, and that increased microbial diversity in anode biofilms may help to stabilize electricity production in the MFC.

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