Electroactive microorganisms in coffee processing wastewater (iron redox processes)

Electroactive microorganisms in coffee processing wastewater (iron redox processes)


  • Joice Castro Alvarez Universidad de Costa Rica, Sede Occidente, Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Sección Química, San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8729-8502
  • Lidieth Uribe Lorío Universidad de Costa Rica, Centro Investigaciones Agronómicas, Laboratorio Microbiología Agrícola; Facultad de Ciencias Agroalimentarias, Escuela de Agronomía, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8276-7824
  • Paola Fuentes-Schweizer Universidad de Costa Rica, Facultad de Ciencias, Escuela de Química, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9536-8403




microbial fuel cell, electrogenic, bacteria, wastewater, iron reduction


Introduction: Wastewater is often a good source for electrogenic bacteria, which are essential for Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). The electrons they release while metabolizing organic matter is evidence of their electrogenic capacity. Objective: To evaluate the iron-reducing capacity of bacteria isolated from coffee wastewater. Methods: We isolated morphologically distinct facultative bacteria from the anode electrode of MFCs, with coffee mill wastewater as our substrate. We did a preliminary identification with the Biolog GEN III system (Biolog Inc. Hayward, CA, USA). To assess the conversion of iron (III) to iron (II) by the isolated bacteria, we tested iron (III) citrate, iron (III) chloride, and iron (III) oxide. For comparison, we used S. oneidensis as a positive control in our experiments. Results: We identified eight bacterial isolates with a predominance of non-sporulated Gram positive bacilli morphology. They have reductive activity of iron compounds, giving the best conversion percentages from  a  for iron oxide (III). The isolate coinciding with the genus Citrobacter (SB), the only Gram negative bacillus, obtained iron conversion percentages higher than 1,0% in the three iron compounds (maximum: 4,3%). Conclusion: In the residual water from the coffee process, there are bacteria with electrogenic capability that could be used in Microbial Fuel Cells.


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How to Cite

Castro Alvarez, J., Uribe Lorío , L., & Fuentes-Schweizer, P. (2023). Electroactive microorganisms in coffee processing wastewater (iron redox processes). UNED Research Journal, 16(1), e4806. https://doi.org/10.22458/urj.v16i1.4806