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A Comprehensive Review on Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Microbial Fuel Cells

Pooja Dange1,#, Nishit Savla1,#, Soumya Pandit2,*, Rambabu Bobba3, Sokhee P. Jung4, Piyush Kumar Gupta2, Mohit Sahni5, Ram Prasad6,*
1 Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University, Mumbai, 410206, India
2 Department of Life Sciences, School of Basic Sciences and Research, Sharda University, Greater Noida, 201306, India
3 Department of Physics, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, 70813, USA
4 Department of Environment and Energy Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, 61186, Korea
5 Department of Physics, School of Basic Sciences and Research, Sharda University, Greater Noida, 201306, India
6 Department of Botany, Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Bihar, 845401, India
* Corresponding Authors: Soumya Pandit. Email: ; Ram Prasad. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: New Insights on Nanomaterials for Energy, Environmental and Agricultural Applications)

Journal of Renewable Materials 2022, 10(3), 665-697.

Received 15 January 2021; Accepted 28 July 2021; Issue published 28 September 2021


The focus of microbial fuel cell research in recent years has been on the development of materials, microbes, and transfer of charges in the system, resulting in a substantial improvement in current density and improved power generation. The cathode is generally recognized as the limiting factor due to its high-distance proton transfer, slow oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), and expensive materials. The heterogeneous reaction determines power generation in MFC. This comprehensive review describes-recent advancements in the development of cathode materials and catalysts associated with ORR. The recent studies indicated the utilization of different metal oxides, the ferrite-based catalyst to overcome this bottleneck. These studies conclude that some cathode materials, in particular, graphene-based conductive polymer composites with non-precious metal catalysts provide substantial benefits for sustainable development in the field of MFCs. Furthermore, it also highlights the potentiality to replace the conventional platinum air cathode for the large-scale production of the next generation of MFCs. It was evident from the experiments that cathode catalyst needs to be blended with conductive carbon materials to make cathode conductive and efficient for ORR. This review discusses various antifouling strategies for cathode biofouling and its effect on the MFC performance. Moreover, it also depicts cost estimations of various catalysts essential for further scale-up of MFC technology.


Cathode; catalyst; microbial fuel cell (MFC); nanomaterials; oxygen reduction reaction (ORR); biofouling; biocathode

Cite This Article

Dange, P., Savla, N., Pandit, S., Bobba, R., Jung, S. P. et al. (2022). A Comprehensive Review on Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Microbial Fuel Cells. Journal of Renewable Materials, 10(3), 665–697.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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