Effect of membrane biofouling on the performance of microbial electrochemical cells and mitigation strategies

Dipak A. Jadhav, Soumya Pandit, Jayesh M. Sonawane, Piyush K. Gupta, Ram Prasad, Ashvini D. Chendake

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Membrane is one of the important components of microbial electrochemical technologies (METs), which facilitates the proton transfer from anodic to cathodic chamber. Membrane/separator performance is governed by membrane properties, surface area, mineral composition, porosity and other characteristics. Long-term operation of microbial fuel cell (MFC) is restricted majorly due to bacterial mediated-biofouling of membrane over period results in proton-transfer limitation and poor efficiency. Several strategies have been proposed to develop the antimicrobial membrane, including silver nano-particles and antifouling chemicals that could control biofouling. Present review article summarizes the biofouling mechanism, biofouling development and provides an update on different strategies employed to reduce biofouling and overcome limitations of MFC for scaling-up applications. The cost of membrane replacement due to biofouling can be reduced with proper biofouling mitigation strategies and help improve the rate of electrokinetic reactions. For scalable applications, membrane pretreatment with intermittent dosing of antifouling chemicals can enhance the performance of a long-term operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100822
JournalBioresource Technology Reports
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofouling
  • Exopolysaccharide
  • Membrane characteristics
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Proton exchange membrane
  • Scaling-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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