Biodegradation of PFOA in microbial electrolysis cells by Acidimicrobiaceae sp. strain A6

Melany Ruiz-Urigüen, Weitao Shuai, Shan Huang, Peter R. Jaffé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Acidimicrobiaceae sp. strain A6 (A6), is an anaerobic autotrophic bacterium capable of oxidizing ammonium (NH4+) while reducing ferric iron and is also able to defluorinate PFAS under these growth conditions. A6 is exoelectrogenic and can grow in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) by using the anode as the electron acceptor in lieu of ferric iron. Therefore, cultures of A6 amended with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were incubated in MECs to investigate its ability to defluorinate PFAS in such reactors. Results show a significant decrease in PFOA concentration after 18 days of operation, while producing current and removing NH4+. The buildup of fluoride and shorter chain perfluorinated products was detected only in MECs with applied potential, active A6, and amended with PFOA, confirming the biodegradation of PFOA in these systems. This work sets the stage for further studies on the application of A6-based per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) bioremediation in microbial electrochemical systems for water treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133506
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Acidimicrobiaceae sp. strain A6
  • Ammonium
  • Defluorination
  • Degradation
  • Dehalogenation
  • Microbial electrolysis cells
  • PFAS
  • PFOA


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