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Potential application of anaerobic extremophiles for hydrogen production
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Paper Abstract

In processes of the substrate fermentation most anaerobes produce molecular hydrogen as a waste end product, which often controls the culture growth as an inhibitor. Usually in nature the hydrogen is easily removed from an ecosystem, due to its physical features, and an immediate consumption by the secondary anaerobes that sometimes behave as competitors for electron donors; a classical example of this kind of substrate competition in anaerobic microbial communities is the interaction between methanogens and sulfate- or sulfur-reducers. Previously, on the mixed cultures of anaerobes at neutral pH, it was demonstrated that bacterial hydrogen production could provide a good alternative energy source. At neutral pH the original cultures could easily contaminated by methanogens, and the most unpleasant side effect of these conditions is the development of pathogenic bacteria. In both cases the rate of hydrogen production was dramatically decreased since some part of the hydrogen was transformed to methane, and furthermore, the cultivation with pathogenic contaminants on an industrial scale would create an unsafe situation. In our laboratory the experiments with obligately alkaliphilic bacteria producing hydrogen as an end metabolic product were performed at different conditions. The mesophilic, haloalkaliphilic and obligately anaerobic bacterium Spirochaeta americana ASpG1T was studied and various cultivation regimes were compared for the most effective hydrogen production. In a highly mineralized media with pH 9.5-10.0 not many known methanogens are capable of growth, and the probability of developing pathogenic contaminants is theoretically is close to zero (in medicine carbonate- saturated solutions are applied as antiseptics). Therefore the cultivation of alkaliphilic hydrogen producing bacteria could be considered as a safe and economical process for large-scale industrial bio-hydrogen production in the future. Here we present and discuss the experimental data with the rates of hydrogen productivity for S. americana ASpG1 isolated from soda Mono Lake in California.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5555, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII, (1 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.563703
Show Author Affiliations
Elena V. Pikuta, NASA National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5555:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Y. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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