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Curr Microbiol. 2013 Jul;67(1):30-5. doi: 10.1007/s00284-013-0328-3. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

Microbial consortia for hydrogen production enhancement.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Autonoma University of Madrid, C/Darwin 2, 28049, Madrid, Spain.


Ten efficient hydrogen-producing strains affiliated to the Clostridium genus were used to develop consortia for hydrogen production. In order to determine their saccharolytic and proteolytic activities, glucose and meat extract were tested as fermentation substrates, and the best hydrogen-producing strains were selected. The C. roseum H5 (glucose-consuming) and C. butyricum R4 (protein-degrading) co-culture was the best hydrogen-producing co-culture. The end-fermentation products for the axenic cultures and co-cultures were analyzed. In all cases, organic acids, mainly butyrate and acetate, were produced lowering the pH and thus inhibiting further hydrogen production. In order to replace the need for reducing agents for the anaerobic growth of clostridia, a microbial consortium including Clostridium spp. and an oxygen-consuming microorganism able to form dense granules (Streptomyces sp.) was created. Increased yields of hydrogen were achieved. The effect of adding a butyrate-degrading bacteria and an acetate-consuming archaea to the consortia was also studied.

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