Robust Microbial Carbon Based Electrode System for Ureolysis of Urine

Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Center and Right Foyers (Moon Palace Resort)
M. Morales-Cruz, R. Morales, R. A. Martínez-Rodríguez (University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras), I. Gonzalez-Gonzalez (University of Turabo), G. A. Toranzos, and C. R. Cabrera (University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras)
There still exists an indisputable growing demand for water around the world, therefore is of major interest to recycle and reuse water. One of the effective measures to help solve the water shortage problem involves recycling of urine. Urea is one of the most common compounds found in urine, and its degradation has been a matter of study for several years. Although the use of urease for urea decomposition is well known, none of the previously published reports involved the complete oxidation of urea to nitrogen. This work presents an innovative technique that integrates the use of a urease-positive bacteria, Proteus vulgaris, for such purposes. In addition platinum will be used as catalyst for the ammonium oxidation in order to obtain energy in the process. In this work the bacterial oxidation of urea to ammonia was chronoamperometrically detected by a polycrystalline platinum disk electrode.  The ureolysis of the urea solution was done at several alkaline levels to find the compromising conditions for the bacterial and electrochemical reactions in synthetic urine.