E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2015).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Professor Patrick Hallenbeck

1. Département de Microbiologie, Infectiologie et immunologie, Université de Montréal, CP 6128 Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7
2. Life Sciences Research Center, Department of Biology, United States Air Force Academy, 2355 Faculty Drive, USAF Academy, Colorado 80840, USA
Website | E-Mail
Assistant Guest Editor
Ms. Khorcheska Batyrova

Département de Microbiologie, Infectiologie et immunologie, Université de Montréal, CP 6128 Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7
E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is widely recognized that the world is overly dependent on fossil fuels for its critical energy needs, leading to the drastic consequences of climate change and the increasingly difficult exploitation of remaining fossil fuel reserves. Multiple responses will be needed to meet these challenges, including increased conservation and the development of a variety of renewable energy sources; wind, hydro and solar. Biological photosynthetic systems offer the capacity to capture a large portion of the enormous solar flux that reaches our planet and convert it to useful biofuels. Developing biological systems for the effective conversion of solar energy to fuels requires extensive R&D in a variety of areas, from increasing the fundamental knowledge about photosynthesis and cellular metabolism to bioreactor and bioprocess engineering. Among the different possible biofuels, hydrogen offers both a number of distinct advantages as well as a number of technical challenges. Over the past several decades, a significant number of researchers working in different disciplines; microbiology, biochemistry, chemical and materials sciences engineering, have helped bring this field to its current level of maturity. This special issue will bring together review articles by well-known scientists on the different aspects of photosynthesis and biological hydrogen production including current status and remaining challenges.

Prof. Patrick C. Hallenbeck
Ms.  Batyrova Khorcheska
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF.


Keywords

  • renewable energy
  • biofuels
  • biological hydrogen production
  • biological solar energy conversion
  • dark fermentation
  • photofermentation
  • biophotolysis
  • metabolic engineering
  • green algae, cyanobacteria
  • lignocellulosic conversion

Published Papers (11 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-11
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Transcriptional Profiling of Hydrogen Production Metabolism of Rhodobacter capsulatus under Temperature Stress by Microarray Analysis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(6), 13781-13797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160613781
Received: 30 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 June 2015 / Published: 16 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1087 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biohydrogen is a clean and renewable form of hydrogen, which can be produced by photosynthetic bacteria in outdoor large-scale photobioreactors using sunlight. In this study, the transcriptional response of Rhodobacter capsulatus to cold (4 °C) and heat (42 °C) stress was studied using [...] Read more.
Biohydrogen is a clean and renewable form of hydrogen, which can be produced by photosynthetic bacteria in outdoor large-scale photobioreactors using sunlight. In this study, the transcriptional response of Rhodobacter capsulatus to cold (4 °C) and heat (42 °C) stress was studied using microarrays. Bacteria were grown in 30/2 acetate/glutamate medium at 30 °C for 48 h under continuous illumination. Then, cold and heat stresses were applied for two and six hours. Growth and hydrogen production were impaired under both stress conditions. Microarray chips for R. capsulatus were custom designed by Affymetrix (GeneChip®. TR_RCH2a520699F). The numbers of significantly changed genes were 328 and 293 out of 3685 genes under cold and heat stress, respectively. Our results indicate that temperature stress greatly affects the hydrogen production metabolisms of R. capsulatus. Specifically, the expression of genes that participate in nitrogen metabolism, photosynthesis and the electron transport system were induced by cold stress, while decreased by heat stress. Heat stress also resulted in down regulation of genes related to cell envelope, transporter and binding proteins. Transcriptome analysis and physiological results were consistent with each other. The results presented here may aid clarification of the genetic mechanisms for hydrogen production in purple non-sulfur (PNS) bacteria under temperature stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Biohydrogen and Bioethanol Production from Biodiesel-Based Glycerol by Enterobacter aerogenes in a Continuous Stir Tank Reactor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 10650-10664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160510650
Received: 29 March 2015 / Revised: 2 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (709 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Crude glycerol from the biodiesel manufacturing process is being produced in increasing quantities due to the expanding number of biodiesel plants. It has been previously shown that, in batch mode, semi-anaerobic fermentation of crude glycerol by Enterobacter aerogenes can produce biohydrogen and bioethanol [...] Read more.
Crude glycerol from the biodiesel manufacturing process is being produced in increasing quantities due to the expanding number of biodiesel plants. It has been previously shown that, in batch mode, semi-anaerobic fermentation of crude glycerol by Enterobacter aerogenes can produce biohydrogen and bioethanol simultaneously. The present study demonstrated the possible scaling-up of this process from small batches performed in small bottles to a 3.6-L continuous stir tank reactor (CSTR). Fresh feed rate, liquid recycling, pH, mixing speed, glycerol concentration, and waste recycling were optimized for biohydrogen and bioethanol production. Results confirmed that E. aerogenes uses small amounts of oxygen under semi-anaerobic conditions for growth before using oxygen from decomposable salts, mainly NH4NO3, under anaerobic condition to produce hydrogen and ethanol. The optimal conditions were determined to be 500 rpm, pH 6.4, 18.5 g/L crude glycerol (15 g/L glycerol) and 33% liquid recycling for a fresh feed rate of 0.44 mL/min. Using these optimized conditions, the process ran at a lower media cost than previous studies, was stable after 7 days without further inoculation and resulted in yields of 0.86 mol H2/mol glycerol and 0.75 mol ethanol/mole glycerol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Single-Stage Operation of Hybrid Dark-Photo Fermentation to Enhance Biohydrogen Production through Regulation of System Redox Condition: Evaluation with Real-Field Wastewater
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 9540-9556; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16059540
Received: 10 March 2015 / Revised: 16 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (968 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Harnessing hydrogen competently through wastewater treatment using a particular class of biocatalyst is indeed a challenging issue. Therefore, biohydrogen potential of real-field wastewater was evaluated by hybrid fermentative process in a single-stage process. The cumulative hydrogen production (CHP) was observed to be higher [...] Read more.
Harnessing hydrogen competently through wastewater treatment using a particular class of biocatalyst is indeed a challenging issue. Therefore, biohydrogen potential of real-field wastewater was evaluated by hybrid fermentative process in a single-stage process. The cumulative hydrogen production (CHP) was observed to be higher with distillery wastewater (271 mL) than with dairy wastewater (248 mL). Besides H2 production, the hybrid process was found to be effective in wastewater treatment. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency was found higher in distillery wastewater (56%) than in dairy wastewater (45%). Co-culturing photo-bacterial flora assisted in removal of volatile fatty acids (VFA) wherein 63% in distillery wastewater and 68% in case of dairy wastewater. Voltammograms illustrated dominant reduction current and low cathodic Tafel slopes supported H2 production. Overall, the augmented dark-photo fermentation system (ADPFS) showed better performance than the control dark fermentation system (DFS). This kind of holistic approach is explicitly viable for practical scale-up operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Influential Nutrients during Direct Cellulose Fermentation into Hydrogen by Clostridium thermocellum
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(2), 3116-3132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16023116
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 22 January 2015 / Accepted: 27 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Combinatorial effects of influential growth nutrients were investigated in order to enhance hydrogen (H2) production during direct conversion of cellulose by Clostridium thermocellum DSM 1237. A central composite face-centered design and response surface methodology (RSM) were applied to optimize concentrations of [...] Read more.
Combinatorial effects of influential growth nutrients were investigated in order to enhance hydrogen (H2) production during direct conversion of cellulose by Clostridium thermocellum DSM 1237. A central composite face-centered design and response surface methodology (RSM) were applied to optimize concentrations of cellulose, yeast extract (YE), and magnesium chloride (Mg) in culture. The overall optimum composition generated by the desirability function resulted in 57.28 mmol H2/L-culture with 1.30 mol H2/mol glucose and 7.48 mmol/(g·cell·h) when cultures contained 25 g/L cellulose, 2 g/L YE, and 1.75 g/L Mg. Compared with the unaltered medium, the optimized medium produced approximately 3.2-fold more H2 within the same time-frame with 50% higher specific productivity, which are also better than previously reported values from similar studies. Nutrient composition that diverted carbon and electron flux away from H2 promoting ethanol production was also determined. This study represents the first investigation dealing with multifactor optimization with RSM for H2 production during direct cellulose fermentation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Hydrogen Photoproduction by Phosphorus-Deprived Marine Green Microalgae Chlorella sp.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(2), 2705-2716; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16022705
Received: 10 December 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2015 / Published: 26 January 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previously it has been shown that green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is capable of prolonged H2 photoproduction when deprived of sulfur. In addition to sulfur deprivation (-S), sustained H2 photoproduction in C. reinhardtii cultures can be achieved under phosphorus-deprived (-P) conditions. Similar [...] Read more.
Previously it has been shown that green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is capable of prolonged H2 photoproduction when deprived of sulfur. In addition to sulfur deprivation (-S), sustained H2 photoproduction in C. reinhardtii cultures can be achieved under phosphorus-deprived (-P) conditions. Similar to sulfur deprivation, phosphorus deprivation limits O2 evolving activity in algal cells and causes other metabolic changes that are favorable for H2 photoproduction. Although significant advances in H2 photoproduction have recently been realized in fresh water microalgae, relatively few studies have focused on H2 production in marine green microalgae. In the present study phosphorus deprivation was applied for hydrogen production in marine green microalgae Chlorella sp., where sulfur deprivation is impossible due to a high concentration of sulfates in the sea water. Since resources of fresh water on earth are limited, the possibility of hydrogen production in seawater is more attractive. In order to achieve H2 photoproduction in P-deprived marine green microalgae Chlorella sp., the dilution approach was applied. Cultures diluted to about 0.5–1.8 mg Chl·L−1 in the beginning of P-deprivation were able to establish anaerobiosis, after the initial growth period, where cells utilize intracellular phosphorus, with subsequent transition to H2 photoproduction stage. It appears that marine microalgae during P-deprivation passed the same stages of adaptation as fresh water microalgae. The presence of inorganic carbon was essential for starch accumulation and subsequent hydrogen production by microalgae. The H2 accumulation was up to 40 mL H2 gas per 1iter of the culture, which is comparable to that obtained in P-deprived C. reinhardtii culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Designed Surface Residue Substitutions in [NiFe] Hydrogenase that Improve Electron Transfer Characteristics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(1), 2020-2033; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16012020
Received: 11 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1578 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Photobiological hydrogen production is an attractive, carbon-neutral means to convert solar energy to hydrogen. We build on previous research improving the Alteromonas macleodii “Deep Ecotype” [NiFe] hydrogenase, and report progress towards creating an artificial electron transfer pathway to supply the hydrogenase with electrons [...] Read more.
Photobiological hydrogen production is an attractive, carbon-neutral means to convert solar energy to hydrogen. We build on previous research improving the Alteromonas macleodii “Deep Ecotype” [NiFe] hydrogenase, and report progress towards creating an artificial electron transfer pathway to supply the hydrogenase with electrons necessary for hydrogen production. Ferredoxin is the first soluble electron transfer mediator to receive high-energy electrons from photosystem I, and bears an electron with sufficient potential to efficiently reduce protons. Thus, we engineered a hydrogenase-ferredoxin fusion that also contained several other modifications. In addition to the C-terminal ferredoxin fusion, we truncated the C-terminus of the hydrogenase small subunit, identified as the available terminus closer to the electron transfer region. We also neutralized an anionic patch surrounding the interface Fe-S cluster to improve transfer kinetics with the negatively charged ferredoxin. Initial screening showed the enzyme tolerated both truncation and charge neutralization on the small subunit ferredoxin-binding face. While the enzyme activity was relatively unchanged using the substrate methyl viologen, we observed a marked improvement from both the ferredoxin fusion and surface modification using only dithionite as an electron donor. Combining ferredoxin fusion and surface charge modification showed progressively improved activity in an in vitro assay with purified enzyme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
[FeFe]-Hydrogenase Abundance and Diversity along a Vertical Redox Gradient in Great Salt Lake, USA
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(12), 21947-21966; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms151221947
Received: 21 October 2014 / Revised: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The use of [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes for the biotechnological production of H2 or other reduced products has been limited by their sensitivity to oxygen (O2). Here, we apply a PCR-directed approach to determine the distribution, abundance, and diversity of hydA gene [...] Read more.
The use of [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes for the biotechnological production of H2 or other reduced products has been limited by their sensitivity to oxygen (O2). Here, we apply a PCR-directed approach to determine the distribution, abundance, and diversity of hydA gene fragments along co-varying salinity and O2 gradients in a vertical water column of Great Salt Lake (GSL), UT. The distribution of hydA was constrained to water column transects that had high salt and relatively low O2 concentrations. Recovered HydA deduced amino acid sequences were enriched in hydrophilic amino acids relative to HydA from less saline environments. In addition, they harbored interesting variations in the amino acid environment of the complex H-cluster metalloenzyme active site and putative gas transfer channels that may be important for both H2 transfer and O2 susceptibility. A phylogenetic framework was created to infer the accessory cluster composition and quaternary structure of recovered HydA protein sequences based on phylogenetic relationships and the gene contexts of known complete HydA sequences. Numerous recovered HydA are predicted to harbor multiple N- and C-terminal accessory iron-sulfur cluster binding domains and are likely to exist as multisubunit complexes. This study indicates an important role for [FeFe]-hydrogenases in the functioning of the GSL ecosystem and provides new target genes and variants for use in identifying O2 tolerant enzymes for biotechnological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Hydrogen Production by the Thermophilic Bacterium Thermotoga neapolitana
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(6), 12578-12600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160612578
Received: 1 April 2015 / Revised: 20 May 2015 / Accepted: 22 May 2015 / Published: 4 June 2015
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the only fuel that is not chemically bound to carbon, hydrogen has gained interest as an energy carrier to face the current environmental issues of greenhouse gas emissions and to substitute the depleting non-renewable reserves. In the last years, there has been [...] Read more.
As the only fuel that is not chemically bound to carbon, hydrogen has gained interest as an energy carrier to face the current environmental issues of greenhouse gas emissions and to substitute the depleting non-renewable reserves. In the last years, there has been a significant increase in the number of publications about the bacterium Thermotoga neapolitana that is responsible for production yields of H2 that are among the highest achievements reported in the literature. Here we present an extensive overview of the most recent studies on this hyperthermophilic bacterium together with a critical discussion of the potential of fermentative production by this bacterium. The review article is organized into sections focused on biochemical, microbiological and technical issues, including the effect of substrate, reactor type, gas sparging, temperature, pH, hydraulic retention time and organic loading parameters on rate and yield of gas production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Cyanobacterial Hydrogenases and Hydrogen Metabolism Revisited: Recent Progress and Future Prospects
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 10537-10561; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160510537
Received: 11 March 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 30 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (1202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cyanobacteria have garnered interest as potential cell factories for hydrogen production. In conjunction with photosynthesis, these organisms can utilize inexpensive inorganic substrates and solar energy for simultaneous biosynthesis and hydrogen evolution. However, the hydrogen yield associated with these organisms remains far too low [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria have garnered interest as potential cell factories for hydrogen production. In conjunction with photosynthesis, these organisms can utilize inexpensive inorganic substrates and solar energy for simultaneous biosynthesis and hydrogen evolution. However, the hydrogen yield associated with these organisms remains far too low to compete with the existing chemical processes. Our limited understanding of the cellular hydrogen production pathway is a primary setback in the potential scale-up of this process. In this regard, the present review discusses the recent insight around ferredoxin/flavodoxin as the likely electron donor to the bidirectional Hox hydrogenase instead of the generally accepted NAD(P)H. This may have far reaching implications in powering solar driven hydrogen production. However, it is evident that a successful hydrogen-producing candidate would likely integrate enzymatic traits from different species. Engineering the [NiFe] hydrogenases for optimal catalytic efficiency or expression of a high turnover [FeFe] hydrogenase in these photo-autotrophs may facilitate the development of strains to reach target levels of biohydrogen production in cyanobacteria. The fundamental advancements achieved in these fields are also summarized in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Biohydrogen Production: Strategies to Improve Process Efficiency through Microbial Routes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(4), 8266-8293; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16048266
Received: 21 January 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 14 April 2015
Cited by 82 | PDF Full-text (3012 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current fossil fuel-based generation of energy has led to large-scale industrial development. However, the reliance on fossil fuels leads to the significant depletion of natural resources of buried combustible geologic deposits and to negative effects on the global climate with emissions of [...] Read more.
The current fossil fuel-based generation of energy has led to large-scale industrial development. However, the reliance on fossil fuels leads to the significant depletion of natural resources of buried combustible geologic deposits and to negative effects on the global climate with emissions of greenhouse gases. Accordingly, enormous efforts are directed to transition from fossil fuels to nonpolluting and renewable energy sources. One potential alternative is biohydrogen (H2), a clean energy carrier with high-energy yields; upon the combustion of H2, H2O is the only major by-product. In recent decades, the attractive and renewable characteristics of H2 led us to develop a variety of biological routes for the production of H2. Based on the mode of H2 generation, the biological routes for H2 production are categorized into four groups: photobiological fermentation, anaerobic fermentation, enzymatic and microbial electrolysis, and a combination of these processes. Thus, this review primarily focuses on the evaluation of the biological routes for the production of H2. In particular, we assess the efficiency and feasibility of these bioprocesses with respect to the factors that affect operations, and we delineate the limitations. Additionally, alternative options such as bioaugmentation, multiple process integration, and microbial electrolysis to improve process efficiency are discussed to address industrial-level applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Advances in the Function and Regulation of Hydrogenase in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(11), 19938-19951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms151119938
Received: 11 September 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 21 October 2014 / Published: 31 October 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1552 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to use cyanobacteria for the biological production of hydrogen, it is important to thoroughly study the function and the regulation of the hydrogen-production machine in order to better understand its role in the global cell metabolism and identify bottlenecks limiting H [...] Read more.
In order to use cyanobacteria for the biological production of hydrogen, it is important to thoroughly study the function and the regulation of the hydrogen-production machine in order to better understand its role in the global cell metabolism and identify bottlenecks limiting H2 production. Most of the recent advances in our understanding of the bidirectional [Ni-Fe] hydrogenase (Hox) came from investigations performed in the widely-used model cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803 where Hox is the sole enzyme capable of combining electrons with protons to produce H2 under specific conditions. Recent findings suggested that the Hox enzyme can receive electrons from not only NAD(P)H as usually shown, but also, or even preferentially, from ferredoxin. Furthermore, plasmid-encoded functions and glutathionylation (the formation of a mixed-disulfide between the cysteines residues of a protein and the cysteine residue of glutathione) are proposed as possible new players in the function and regulation of hydrogen production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthesis and Biological Hydrogen Production)
Figures

Figure 1

Int. J. Mol. Sci. EISSN 1422-0067 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top