The anode configuration determined the performance of power generation and contaminant removal in microbial fuel cell (MFC). In this study, double anodes were constructed along an up-flow MFC for mitigating the suppression of refractory organic azo dye Reactive Brilliant Red X-3B and increasing the power output. Results revealed that high concentration of X-3B suppressed the power generation of MFC. The maximum power density decreased from 0.413 to 0.161 W/m3, and the inner resistance rose from 448 to 698 Ω. However, double anodes weakened the suppression of X-3B to the current generation. Compared with single anode, the attenuation of MFC current decreased from 48 to 40%. Meanwhile, the X-3B removal efficiency in double-anode MFC was 19.81% higher compared with a single-anode condition when the X-3B was 1000 mg/L. The degradation pathway analysis indicated that aromatic amines formation and further oxidation were achieved sequentially in the MFC. Furthermore, microbial communities in the lower and upper anodes were analyzed, revealing that the microorganisms in the lower anode were more inclined to degrade the pollutant, whereas those in the upper anode were more inclined to generate electricity. This double-anode structure showed the potential for large concentration range of azo dye removal and the current recovery in real textile wastewater.
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