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Characterization of plant growth promoting potential of 3D-printed plant microbial fuel cells

1School of Chemical, Biological. and Materials Engineering and Sciences, Mapua University, Manila, Philippines

2Center for Renewable Bioenergy Research, Mapua University, Manila, Philippines

Received: 4 Feb 2023; Revised: 25 Jun 2023; Accepted: 7 Jul 2023; Available online: 28 Jul 2023; Published: 1 Sep 2023.
Editor(s): Rock Keey Liew
Open Access Copyright (c) 2023 The Author(s). Published by Centre of Biomass and Renewable Energy (CBIORE)
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell (PMFC) is an emerging technology that converts plant waste into electrical energy through rhizodeposition, offering a renewable and sustainable source of energy. Deviating from the traditional PMFC configurations, additive manufacturing was utilized to create intricate and efficient designs using polymer-carbon composites. Concerning the agricultural sector, the effect of 3D-printed PMFCs on the growth and biomass distribution of Phaseolus lunatus and Ipomoea aquatica was determined. The experiment showed that electrostimulation promoted the average daily leaf number and plant height of both polarized plants, which were statistically proven to be greater than the control (α = 0.05), by energizing the flow of ions in the soil, boosting nutrient uptake and metabolism. It also stimulated the growth of roots, increasing the root dry mass of polarized plants by 155.44% and 66.30% for I. aquatica and P. Lunatus against their non-polarized counterpart. Due to the biofilm formation on the anode surface, the number of root nodules of the polarized P. lunatus was 51.30% higher than the control, while the protein content in the PMFC setup was 42.22% and 8.26% higher than the control for I. aquatica and P. lunatus, respectively. The voltage readings resemble the plants' average growth rate, and the polarization studies showed that the optimum external resistances in the I. aquatica- and P. lunatus-powered PMFC were 4.7 kΩ and 10 kΩ, respectively. Due to other prevailing pathways of organic carbon consumption, such as methanogenesis, the effect of polarization on the organic carbon content in soil is currently inconclusive and requires further study.

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Keywords: 3D-printed electrodes; organic carbon; plant growth; protein; root system
Funding: Mapua University

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