Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Stuart Wilkinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Muhammad Mustafizur Rahman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank Pyrtle, III, Ph.D.


Microbial fuel cells, mediators, s. cerevisiae, yeast, Neutral Red, Methylene Blue, Gastrobots


A study of how mediators interact with the catabolic pathways of microbes was undertaken with a view towards improving the performance of microbial fuel cells. The use of mediators is known to improve the power density in microbial fuel cells, but this work suggests that no single mediator is ideally suited to the task. Instead, a carefully selected mixture of two targeted mediators (Methylene Blue and Neutral Red) might be optimal. To test this hypothesis, a yeast-catalyzed microbial fuel cell was built and empirically evaluated under different mediation conditions while keeping all other parameters constant. The results clearly show that an appropriate mix of the two mediators mentioned could indeed achieve significantly superior performance, in terms of power-density, than when either mediator is used singly. All tests were carried out using the same overall mediator concentration.