Two different types of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) sensors using microbial electrodes were prepared. First, a microbial electrode using the bacteria–collagen membrane and oxygen electrode was used for the determination of BOD. When the electrode was inserted in a sample solution containing glucose and glutamic acid (model waste water), the current of the electrode decreased markedly with time until a steady state was reached. A linear relationship was observed between the steady state current and the concentration of the standard solution containing glucose–glutamic acid or the BOD of the solution. The BOD of industrial waste waters can be estimated within 15 min by using the microbial electrode. No decrease in current output was observed over a ten day period. The reproducibility was determined using the same sample (10% of the standard solution) and was found to be 26.2 ± 2.0 μA (7.5% of the relative standard deviation). Next, a biofuel cell utilizing microbial electrode (immobilized Clostridium butyricum–platinum electrode) was applied to the estimation of the BOD of waste waters. The current of the biofuel cell was decreased markedly with time until a steady state was reached. The steady state current was in all cases attained within 30–40 min at 37°C. A linear relationship was obtained between the steady state current and BOD. The BOD of industrial waste waters can be estimated by using the biofuel cell. Relative error of the BOD estimation was within ±10%. The current output of the biofuel cell was almost constant for 30 days.
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