Toxicity monitoring is essential for the protection of public health and ecological safety. Microbial fuel cell (MFC) sensors demonstrated good potential in toxicity monitoring, but current MFC sensors can only be used for anaerobic water monitoring. In this study, a novel gas diffusion (GD)-biocathode sensing element was fabricated using a simple method. The GD-biocathode MFC sensor can directly be used for formaldehyde detection (from 0.0005% to 0.005%) in both aerobic and anaerobic water bodies. Electrochemical analysis indicated that the response by the sensor was caused by the toxic inhibition to the microbial activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). This study for the first time demonstrated that the GD-biocathode MFC sensor has a detection limit of 20 ppm for formaldehyde and can be used to monitor air pollution. Selective sensitivity to formaldehyde was not achieved as the result of using a mixed-culture, which confirms that it can serve as a generic biosensor for monitoring gaseous pollutants. This study expands the realm of knowledge for MFC sensor applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Waterproof breathable membrane