Living plants transport substantial amounts of organic material into the soil. This process, called rhizodeposition, provides the substrate for the rhizospheric microbial community. In this study, a laboratory-scale sediment microbial fuel cell, of which the anode is positioned in the rhizosphere of the rice plants, is used to microbially oxidize the plant-derived organics. An electrical current was generated through the in situ oxidation of rhizodeposits from living rice plants. The electrical power output of a sediment microbial fuel cell was found to be a factor 7 higher in the presence of actively growing plants. This process offers the potential of light-driven power generation from living plants in a nondestructive way. Sustainable power productions up to 330 W ha(-1) could be attributed to the oxidation of the plant-derived compounds.
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