Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 10, Issue 10, pp 2925–2931 | Cite as

Biosurfactant Production from Used Vegetable Oil in the Anode Chamber of a Microbial Electrosynthesizing Fuel Cell

  • Jia LiuEmail author
  • Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan
  • Ming Yang
Original Paper


In this study, producing biosurfactant from used vegetable oil in the anode chamber of a microbial electrosynthesizing fuel cell (MEFC) with electrical energy production was investigated. Up to 10 mL/L used vegetable oil was used with an acclimated bacterial culture—Serratia sp. in the anode chamber. The biosurfactant production and bacterial growth in the anode chamber was compared to a continuously stirred batch reactor of comparable size. Up to 3.05 g/L of biosurfactant was produced in the anode solution and a reduction of surface tension to 25.2 mN/m was reached after 7 days of the MEFC operation. At the same time, a maximum power density of 1.13 mW/m2 was produced. The MEFC was further characterized using the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Mathematical expression was established to model the total impedance of the MEFC. The production of the biosurfactant from the used vegetable oil waste in the anode chamber and also producing electric power makes the MEFC multifunctional.


Biosurfactant Used vegetable oil Microbial electrosynthesizing fuel cell Serratia sp. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy 



This study was supported by the Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology with funding from the Texas Hazardous Waste Research Center. Sponsors are not responsible for any of the conclusions.

Supplementary material

12649_2018_331_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringSouthern Illinois University, CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceSouthern Illinois University, CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA

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