Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a complex environmental problem, which has adverse effects on surface and ground waters due to low pH, high toxic metals, and dissolved salts. New bioremediation approach based on microbial fuel cells (MFC) can be a novel and sustainable alternative for AMD treatment. We studied the potential of MFC for acidic synthetic water treatment through pH neutralization in batch-mode and continuous-flow operation. We observed a marked pH increase, from ~3.7 to ~7.9 under batch conditions and to ~5.8 under continuous-flow operation. Likewise, batch reactors (non-MFC) inoculated with different MFC-enriched biofilms showed a very similar pH increase, suggesting that the neutralization observed for batch operation was due to a synergistic influence of these communities. These preliminary results support the idea of using MFC technologies for AMD remediation, which could help to reduce costs associated with conventional technologies. Advances in this configuration could even be extrapolated to the recovery of heavy metals by precipitation or adsorption processes due to the acid neutralization.
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