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Photofermentative Hydrogen Production

Sağır, Emrah
Hallenbeck, Patrick C.
There are many biological paths to hydrogen production, each with potential advantages, but also with its own challenges to implementation. The nonsulfur photosynthetic bacteria use a process termed as photofermentation to harness solar energy for the close to stoichiometric conversion of various carbon substrates to hydrogen, releasing carbon dioxide. These organisms can potentially use various feedstocks, but are particularly adept at the light-driven production of hydrogen from organic acids. Thus they are ideal candidates for two-stage or coculture systems, which derive additional hydrogen from the effluents of dark fermentations or organic acid-rich agricultural and industrial waste streams. The possible waste streams, as well as the metabolic and enzymatic properties, underlying photofermentation are reviewed. Recent progress, including the use of immobilized systems and metabolic engineering, is highlighted.