Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 2157–2168 | Cite as

Bioelectricity generation by wetland plant-sediment microbial fuel cells (P-SMFC) and effects on the transformation and mobility of arsenic and heavy metals in sediment

  • Juanping Zhu
  • Taiping ZhangEmail author
  • Nengwu Zhu
  • Chunhua Feng
  • Shaoqi ZhouEmail author
  • Randy A. Dahlgren
Original Paper


Two wetland plant-sediment microbial fuel cell systems (PSM1 and PSM2) and one wetland sediment microbial fuel cell system (SM) were constructed to investigate their electricity production performance and the simultaneous migration and transformation of arsenic and heavy metals in sediment and overlying water, arsenic and heavy metals uptake by plants. The bioelectricity generation was monitored for 175 days, and sediment samples were collected at three time points (64, 125 and 200 days) for the analysis. The results showed that plants improved the efficiency of the electricity production by the fuel cell system. The average output voltage was: PSM1 (0.32 V) > PSM2 (0.28 V) > SM (0.24 V)(P ≤ 0.05).The electricity production of the electrodes and the introduction of plants affected the mobility and transformation of As, Zn and Cd in the sediment, which contributed to their stability in the sediment and reduced the release of these metals into the overlying water column. The bioelectricity production process affected the bioavailability of arsenic and heavy metals in the sediment and attenuated metal uptake by plants, which indicated the potential for remediation of arsenic and heavy metals pollution in sediment.


Wetland plant-sediment microbial fuel cell Bioelectricity generation Arsenic and heavy metals Bioavailability 



This study was financially supported by the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Project “Cooperation by production, study and research” (No. 2017A090905043 & 2017B090907012) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China for State Key Research and Development Project (2016YFC0400702). The authors would like to thank Wang Jian and Shen Weihang for their assistance with the sample collection and preparation.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environment and EnergySouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The Key Lab of Pollution Control and Ecosystem Restoration in Industry Clusters, Ministry of EducationSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Guizhou Academy of SciencesGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Land, Air and Water ResourcesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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