The role of riboflavin in decolourisation of Congo red and bioelectricity production using Shewanella oneidensis-MR1 under MFC and non-MFC conditions

  • Ola M. Gomaa
  • Segun Fapetu
  • Godfrey Kyazze
  • Tajalli Keshavarz
Original Paper


Dissimilatory metal reducing bacteria can exchange electrons extracellularly and hold great promise for their use in simultaneous wastewater treatment and electricity production. This study investigated the role of riboflavin, an electron carrier, in the decolourisation of Congo red in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) using Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 as a model organism. The contribution of the membrane-bound protein MtrC to the decolourisation process was also investigated. Within the range of riboflavin concentrations tested, 20 µM was found to be the best with >95% of the dye (initial concentration 200 mg/L) decolourised in MFCs within 50 h compared to 90% in the case where no riboflavin was added. The corresponding maximum power density was 45 mW/m2. There was no significant difference in the overall decolourisation efficiencies of Shewanela oneidensis MR-1 ΔMtrC mutants compared to the wild type. However, in terms of power production the mutant produced more power (Pmax 76 mW/m2) compared to the wild type (Pmax 46 mW/m2) which was attributed to higher levels of riboflavin secreted in solution. Decolourisation efficiencies in non-MFC systems (anaerobic bottles) were similar to those under MFC systems indicating that electricity generation in MFCs does not impair dye decolourisation efficiencies. The results suggest that riboflavin enhances both decolourisation of dyes and simultaneous electricity production in MFCs.


Electron shuttling MtrC Shewanella Dye decolourisation Energy production Riboflavin 



The authors would like to thank the British Council for facilitating the travel of the first author to conduct this work at the department of Life Sciences at University of Westminster, London, UK through the travel grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ola M. Gomaa
    • 1
  • Segun Fapetu
    • 2
  • Godfrey Kyazze
    • 2
  • Tajalli Keshavarz
    • 2
  1. 1.Microbiology Department, National Center for Radiation Research and Technology (NCRRT)Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA)CairoEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of WestminsterLondonUK

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