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Single-stage photofermentative biohydrogen production from sugar beet molasses by different purple non-sulfur bacteria

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Biohydrogen production via fermentative routes offers considerable advantages in waste recycling and sustainable energy production. This can be realized by single-stage dark or photofermentative processes, or by a two-stage integrated process; the latter offering the higher production yields due to complete conversion of sugar substrates into H2 and CO2. However, problems arising from the integration of these two processes limit its scale-up and implementation. Hence, high efficiency one-step fermentative biohydrogen production processes from sugar-rich wastes are preferable. In this study, different strains of purple non-sulfur bacteria were investigated for their biohydrogen production capacity on pure sucrose and sugar beet molasses, and the feasibility of single-stage photofermentative biohydrogen production was evaluated. A single-stage photofermentation process was carried out using four different strains of purple non-sulfur bacteria (Rhodobacter capsulatus DSM 1710, R. capsulatus YO3, Rhodobacter sphaeroides O.U.001, and Rhodopseudomonas palustris DSM 127) on different initial sucrose concentrations. The highest hydrogen yield obtained was 10.5 mol H2/mol of sucrose and the maximum hydrogen productivity was 0.78 mmol/L h by Rp. palustris on 5 mM sucrose. A hydrogen yield of 19 mol H2/mol sucrose, which represents 79% of theoretical yield, and a maximum hydrogen productivity of 0.55 mmol/L h were obtained by Rp. palustris from sugar beet molasses. The yield was comparable to those values obtained in two-stage processes. The present study demonstrates that single-stage photofermentation using purple non-sulfur bacteria on sucrose-based wastes is promising.

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This study was supported by METU Teaching Staff Training Program (ÖYP) and Scientific Research Projects (BAP) (07/02/2011-003). The authors thank Dr. Harun Koku for his valuable comments and discussions. Special thanks to Gulten Orakci from the Chemical Engineering Department at Middle East Technical University, for her help with HPLC analyses.

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Correspondence to Meral Yucel.

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Sagir, E., Ozgur, E., Gunduz, U. et al. Single-stage photofermentative biohydrogen production from sugar beet molasses by different purple non-sulfur bacteria. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 40, 1589–1601 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-017-1815-x

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  • Biohydrogen
  • Purple non-sulfur bacterium
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar beet molasses
  • Single-stage photofermentation