Loofahs fruit species Luffa aegyptiaca, Luffa acutangula with bacteria creates power in microbial fuel cell

Loofahs, bacteria creates power-generating microbial fuel cell

11:10 AM, 9th December 2013
Research on Loofahs fruit species  Luffa aegyptiaca, Luffa acutangula
Scientists have created a power-generating microbial fuel cell by pairing of loofahs with bacteria.

WASHINGTON DC, US: Loofahs, fruit of the species Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula, are best known for their use in exfoliating skin to soft, radiant perfection. These loofahs have emerged as a new potential tool to advance sustainability efforts on two fronts at the same time: energy and waste. The study describes the pairing of loofahs with bacteria to create a power-generating microbial fuel cell (MFC) and appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Researchers Shungui Zhou and colleagues noted that MFCs, which harness the ability of some bacteria to convert waste into electric power, could help address both the world’s growing waste problem and its need for clean power. Current MFC devices can be expensive and complicated to make. In addition, the holes, or pores, in the cells’ electrodes are often too small for bacteria to spread out in. Recently, researchers have turned to plant materials as a low-cost alternative, but pore size has still been an issue. Loofahs are inexpensive, that’s why Zhou’s team decided to investigate their potential use in MFCs.

When the scientists put nitrogen-enriched carbon nanoparticles on loofahs and loaded them with bacteria, the resulting MFC performed better than traditional MFCs. According to the researchers, this study introduces a promising method for the fabrication of high-performance anodes from low-cost, sustainable natural materials.

© American Chemical Society News 

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