The Open Biotechnology Journal

ISSN: ― Volume ,

Agricultural Wastes For Electricity Generation Using Microbial Fuel Cells

Segundo Rojas Flores1, *, Renny Nazario Naveda2, Evelyn Abanto Paredes3, Jessica Alza Orbegoso3, Tiffany Cruz Céspedes3, Angie Rodríguez Salvatierra3, Milagros Sánchez Rodríguez3
1 Department of Science, Universidad Privada del Norte, Trujillo, Peru
2 School of Civil Engineering, Cesar Vallejo University, Chimbote, Peru
3 Department of Environmental Engineering, Universidad Privada del Norte, Trujillo, Peru



Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are promising devices that enable the employment of discarded organic matter, typically gathered around food supply chains, to generate electricity.


In this work, low-cost MFCs in the absence of a proton exchange membrane were fabricated.


They were built on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic tubes with square acrylic sheets at the ends serving as a framework of anode/cathode chambers and using zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) metals as electrodes. Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes were used as substrates in MFCs and monitored for 21 days. Variables of interest such as voltage, current, pH, and volume were measured through a 100 Ω resistor.


The voltage measurements for the onion-based cell showed an upward trend that reaches a peak of 1.01 volts on the last day. Moreover, the greatest current generation was observed in onion cells, in which the current gradually increases from 10.2 to 24.7 mA on the last day. On the other hand, in all substrates, pH ranged from 7.5 and 10, which indicates the slightly alkaline behavior of the solutions.


A reduction in the volume of the substrate was observed during the voltage generation. Finally, during the last day, MFCs were connected in series which allowed for the successful generation of 2.35 volts, and consequently, illumination of LED light.

Keywords: Electricity, Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC), Electrodes, Organic matter, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Voltage.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 14
First Page: 52
Last Page: 58
Publisher Id: TOBIOTJ-14-52
DOI: 10.2174/1874070702014010052

Article History:

Received Date: 05/11/2019
Revision Received Date: 06/01/2020
Acceptance Date: 04/02/2020
Electronic publication date: 01/06/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Flores et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Science, Universidad Privada del Norte, Trujillo, Peru; E-mail:

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