Modeling the Impact of Interspecies Competition on Performance of a Microbial Fuel Cell

Brian V. Merkey, David L. Chopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previous models of biofilms growing in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) have primarily focused on modeling a single growth mechanism: growth via a conductive biofilm matrix, or growth utilizing diffusible electron shuttles or mediators. In this work, we implement both flavors of models in order to explore the competition for space and nutrients in a MFC biofilm populated by both species types. We find that the optimal growth conditions are for bacteria that utilize conductive EPS provided a minimal energy used to create the EPS matrix. Mediator-utilizing bacteria do have favorable niche regions, most notably close to the anode and where exposed to the bulk inflow, where oxidized mediator is readily available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1429-1453
Number of pages25
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Biofilm model
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Microbial fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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