Enhancing biological hydrogen production from cyanobacteria by removal of excreted products.

Ananyev, GM, Skizim NJ, Dismukes CG.  2012.  


Journal of biotechnology

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Hydrogen is produced by a [NiFe]-hydrogenase in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima during autofermentation of photosynthetically accumulated glycogen under dark anaerobic conditions. Herein we show that elimination of H₂ backpressure by continuous H₂ removal ("milking") can significantly increase the yield of H₂ in this strain. We show that "milking" by continuous selective consumption of H₂ using an electrochemical cell produces the maximum increase in H₂ yield (11-fold) and H₂ rate (3.4-fold), which is considerably larger than through "milking" by non-selective dilution of the biomass in media (increases H₂ yield 3.7-fold and rate 3.1-fold). Exhaustive autofermentation under electrochemical milking conditions consumes >98% of glycogen and 27.6% of biomass over 7-8 days and extracts 39% of the energy content in glycogen as H₂. Non-selective dilution stimulates H₂ production by shifting intracellular equilibria competing for NADH from excreted products and terminal electron sinks into H₂ production. Adding a mixture of the carbon fermentative products shifts the equilibria towards reactants, resulting in increased intracellular NADH and an increased H₂ yield (1.4-fold). H₂ production is sustained for a period of time up to 7days, after which the PSII activity of the cells decreases by 80-90%, but can be restored by regeneration under photoautotrophic growth.

Ananyev, GM, Skizim NJ, Dismukes CG.  2012.  Enhancing biological hydrogen production from cyanobacteria by removal of excreted products.. Journal of biotechnology. 162(1):97-104.