Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 731–738 | Cite as

Co-cultivation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with Azotobacter chroococcum improved H2 production

  • Lili Xu
  • Xianglong Cheng
  • Shuangxiu Wu
  • Quanxi Wang
Original Research Paper



To improve H2 production, the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cc849 was co-cultured with Azotobacter chroococcum.


The maximum H2 production of the co-culture was 350% greater than that of the pure algal cultures under optimal H2 production conditions. The maximum growth and the respiratory rate of the co-cultures were about 320 and 300% of the controls, and the dissolved O2 of co-cultures was decreased 74%. Furthermore, the in vitro maximum hydrogenase activity of the co-culture was 250% greater than that of the control, and the in vivo maximum hydrogenase activity of the co-culture was 1.4-fold greater than that of the control. In addition, the maximum starch content of co-culture was 1400% that of the control.


Azotobacter chroococcum improved the H2 production of the co-cultures by decreasing the O2 content and increasing the growth and starch content of the algae and the hydrogenase activity of the co-cultures relative to those of pure algal cultures.


Azotobacter chroococcum Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Co-culture Hydrogen production 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC No. 31600284; No. 31271397).

Supporting information

Supplementary Fig. 1—The micrographs of algae-bacteria aggregate. (a) Pure C. reinhardtii cc849 before fixed it on A. chroococcum; (b) the complex of C. reinhardtii cc849 and A. chroococcum in the initial phase of H2 production; (c) the complex of C. reinhardtii cc849 and A. chroococcum in the rapid growth phases of H2 production; (d) the aggregates of C. reinhardtii cc849 and A. chroococcum in saturated stage of H2 production.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10529_2017_2301_MOESM1_ESM.docx (309 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 308 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lili Xu
    • 1
  • Xianglong Cheng
    • 1
  • Shuangxiu Wu
    • 2
  • Quanxi Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, College of Life and Environmental ScienceShanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.CAS Key Laboratory of Genome Sciences and Information, Beijing Key Laboratory of Genome and Precision Medicine Technologies, Beijing Institute of GenomicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijngPeople’s Republic of China

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