The effects of pH, chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration and external resistance on denitrifying microbial fuel cell were evaluated in terms of electricity generation characteristics and pollutant removal performance. The results showed that anodic influent with weakly alkaline or neutral pH and cathodic influent with weakly acidic pH favored pollutant removal and electricity generation. The suitable influent pH of the anode and cathode were found to be 7.5–8.0 and 6.0–6.5, respectively. In the presence of sufficient nitrate in the cathode, higher influent COD concentration led to more electricity generation and greater pollutant removal rates. With an anodic influent pH of 8.0 and a cathodic influent pH of 6.0, an influent COD concentration of 400 mg/L was deemed to be appropriate. Low external resistance favored nitrate and COD removal. The results suggest that operation of denitrifying microbial fuel cell at a lower external resistance would be desirable for pollutant removal but not electricity generation.