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Role of Near-Electrode Solution Chemistry on Bacteria Attachment and Poration at Low Applied Potentials

: Lin, M.-H.; Mehraeen, S.; Cheng, G.; Rusinek, C.; Chaplin, B.P.


Environmental science and technology 54 (2020), Nr.1, S.446-455
ISSN: 0013-936X
ISSN: 1520-5851
Fraunhofer CCD ()

This research investigated mechanisms for biofouling control at boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrode surfaces polarized at low applied potentials (e.g., −0.2 to 1.0 V vs Ag/AgCl), using Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a model organism. Results indicated that electrostatic interactions between bacteria and ionic electrode functional groups facilitated bacteria attachment at the open-circuit potential (OCP). However, under polarization, the applied potential governed these electrostatic interactions and electrochemical reactions resulted in surface bubble formation and near-surface pH modulation that decreased surface attachment under anodic conditions. The poration of the attached bacteria occurred at OCP conditions and increased with the applied potential. Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) provided near-surface pH and oxidant formation measurements under anodic and cathodic polarizations. The near-surface pH was 3.1 at 1.0 V vs Ag/AgCl and 8.0 at −0.2 V vs Ag/AgCl and was possibly a contributor to bacteria poration. Interpretation of SECM data using a reactive transport model allowed for a better understanding of the near-electrode chemistry. Under cathodic conditions, the primary oxidant formed was H2O2, and under anodic conditions, a combination of H2O2, Cl•, HO2•, Cl2•–, and Cl2 formations likely contributed to bacteria poration at potentials as low as 0.5 V vs Ag/AgCl.