Biological hydrogen production: molecular and electrolytic perspectives

  • Ganesh Mahidhara
  • Hannah Burrow
  • Ch. Sasikala
  • Ch. V. RamanaEmail author


Exploration of renewable energy sources is an imperative task in order to replace fossil fuels and to diminish atmospheric pollution. Hydrogen is considered one of the most promising fuels for the future and implores further investigation to find eco-friendly ways toward viable production. Expansive processes like electrolysis and fossil fuels are currently being used to produce hydrogen. Biological hydrogen production (BHP) displays recyclable and economical traits, and is thus imperative for hydrogen economy. Three basic modes of BHP were investigated, including bio photolysis, photo fermentation and dark fermentation. Photosynthetic microorganisms could readily serve as powerhouses to successively produce this type of energy. Cyanobacteria, blue green algae (bio photolysis) and some purple non-sulfur bacteria (Photo fermentation) utilize solar energy and produce hydrogen during their metabolic processes. Ionic species, including hydrogen (H+) and electrons (e) are combined into hydrogen gas (H2), with the use of special enzymes called hydrogenases in the case of bio photolysis, and nitrogenases catalyze the formation of hydrogen in the case of photo fermentation. Nevertheless, oxygen sensitivity of these enzymes is a drawback for bio photolysis and photo fermentation, whereas, the amount of hydrogen per unit substrate produced appears insufficient for dark fermentation. This review focuses on innovative advances in the bioprocess research, genetic engineering and bioprocess technologies such as microbial fuel cell technology, in developing bio hydrogen production.


Photo fermentation Bio photolysis Dark fermentation Microbial electrolytic cells 



This work is financially supported by the council of scientific and industrial research, New Delhi under CSIR RA Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ganesh Mahidhara
    • 1
  • Hannah Burrow
    • 2
  • Ch. Sasikala
    • 3
  • Ch. V. Ramana
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life SciencesUniversityof Hyderabad, P.O Central UniversityHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Trility Water Pty Ltd, BWBMPConnewarreAustralia
  3. 3.Bacterial Discovery Laboratory, Centre for Environment, Institute of Science and TechnologyJ.N.T. University HyderabadHyderabadIndia

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