Silicon-based microfabricated microbial fuel cell toxicity sensor

D. Dávila, J. P. Esquivel, N. Sabaté, J. Mas

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141 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have been used for several years as biosensors for measuring environmental parameters such as biochemical oxygen demand and water toxicity. The present study is focused on the detection of toxic matter using a novel silicon-based MFC. Like other existing toxicity sensors based on MFCs, this device is capable of detecting the variation on the current produced by the cell when toxic compounds are present in the medium. The MFC approach presented in this work aims to obtain a simple, compact and planar device for its further application as a biosensor in the design and fabrication of equipment for toxicity monitoring. It consists on a proton exchange membrane placed between two microfabricated silicon plates that act as current collectors. An array of square 80μm×80μm vertical channels, 300μm deep, have been defined trough the plates over an area of 6. mm×6. mm. The final testing assembly incorporates two perspex pieces positioned onto the plates as reservoirs with a working volume of 144μL per compartment.The operation of the microdevice as a direct electron transfer MFC has been validated by comparing its performance against a larger scale MFC, run under the same conditions. The device has been tested as a toxicity sensor by setting it at a fixed current while monitoring changes in the output power. A drop in the power production is observed when a toxic compound is added to the anode compartment. The compact design of the device makes it suitable for its incorporation into measurement equipment either as an individual device or as an array of sensors for high throughput processing. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2426-2430
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2011


  • Direct electron transfer
  • Geobacter
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Toxicity biosensor


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