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Effect of fermentation temperature on hydrogen production from cow waste slurry by using anaerobic microflora within the slurry

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We examined hydrogen production from a dairy cow waste slurry (13.4 g of volatile solids per liter) by batch cultures in a temperature range from 37 to 85°C, using microflora naturally present within the slurry. Without the addition of seed bacteria, hydrogen was produced by simply incubating the slurry, using the microflora within the slurry. Interestingly, two peaks of fermentation temperatures for hydrogen production from the slurry were observed at 60 and 75°C (392 and 248 ml H2 per liter of slurry, respectively). After the termination of the hydrogen evolution, the microflora cultured at 60°C displayed hydrogen-consuming activity, but hydrogen-consuming activity of the microflora cultured at 75°C was not detected, at least for 24 days. At both 60 and 75°C, the main by-product was acetate, and the optimum pH of the slurry for hydrogen production was around neutral. Bacteria related to hydrogen-producing moderate and extreme thermophiles, Clostridium thermocellum and Caldanaerobacter subterraneus, were detected in the slurries cultured at 60 and 75°C, respectively, by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses, using the V3 region of 16S rDNA.

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We are grateful to K. Tajima, Functional Feed Research Team, NILGS, for his critical reading of the manuscript. We also thank H. Kajikawa, K. Sumiya, and the members of the Ruminants and Field Management Section, NILGS, for their helpful assistance and discussions. This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science, and Technology, Japan.

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Correspondence to Hiroshi Yokoyama.

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Yokoyama, H., Waki, M., Moriya, N. et al. Effect of fermentation temperature on hydrogen production from cow waste slurry by using anaerobic microflora within the slurry. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 74, 474–483 (2007).

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  • Hydrogen production
  • Cow waste
  • Anaerobic microflora
  • Thermophilic condition