Bioelectrohydrogenesis and inhibition of methanogenic activity in microbial electrolysis cells - A review

Rengasamy Karthikeyan, Ka Yu Cheng, Ammaiyappan Selvam, Arpita Bose, Jonathan W.C. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) are a promising technology for biological hydrogen production. Compared to abiotic water electrolysis, a much lower electrical voltage (~ 0.2 V) is required for hydrogen production in MECs. It is also an attractive waste treatment technology as a variety of biodegradable substances can be used as the process feedstock. Underpinning this technology is a recently discovered bioelectrochemical pathway known as “bioelectrohydrogenesis”. However, little is known about the mechanism of this pathway, and numerous hurdles are yet to be addressed to maximize hydrogen yield and purity. Here, we review various aspects including reactor configurations, microorganisms, substrates, electrode materials, and inhibitors of methanogenesis in order to improve hydrogen generation in MECs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-771
Number of pages14
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Bioelectrohydrogenesis
  • Hydrogen
  • Inhibitor
  • Methane
  • Methanogenesis
  • Microbial electrolysis cell


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