Simultaneous organics, sulphate and salt removal in a microbial desalination cell with an insight into microbial communities

Tahereh Jafary, Wan Ramli Wan Daud, Saad A. Aljlil, Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Abdullah Al-Mamun, Mahad S. Baawain, Mostafa Ghasemi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial desalination cells (MDCs) are known among the bioelectrochemical systems for their green and cost-effective application in salt removal. However, the low efficiency of desalination compared to other chemical and membrane-based methods still holding this technology in laboratory and requiring further research and development (R&D) to establish actual plants. This study focused on integrating different applicable functions in one setup to promote applying MDCs in actual scale. In this research, the behavior of the MDC upon applying different salt concentrations in the desalination chamber was studied. Moreover, salt, sulphate and organic matter removal in acetate and sulphate-fed MDCs (A.MDC and S.MDC) were investigated. 10, 20 and 35 g/l of salt were successfully removed by using MDC technology. Sulphate removal of 72% was achieved within the S.MDC setup while similar current productions were observed in both A.MDC and S.MDC. Higher COD removal (88%) was recorded in S.MDC compared to 65% in A.MDC. Furthermore, the microbial communities were characterized and Rubrivivax was identified as the dominant genus in A.MDC while Desulfobulbus, Geobacter and Desulfovibrio were the most abundant genera in S.MDC setup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Desalination
  • Microbial community
  • Microbial desalination cell
  • Organic matter removal
  • Sulphate removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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