, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 153-160

Towards optimization of cyanobacteria as biotechnologically relevant producers of molecular hydrogen, a clean and renewable energy source

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In discussions about alternatives to our current fossil energy sources, basic and applied research leading to biological production of molecular hydrogen utilizing cyanobacteria deserves serious attention. In these oxygenic phototrophic bacteria, hydrogen can be produced by the activity of either nitrogenases or reversible/bidirectional hydrogenases. Knowledge of the physiological and molecular basis of some of the processes involved in hydrogen metabolism in these peculiar microorganisms has increased during the last decade. However, further efforts are required in basic as well as applied research in order to obtain a clear impression of these processes and their regulation. This information might then constitute the basis for optimizing the efficiency of hydrogen evolution by cyanobacteria. Progress might be achieved by screening more cyanobacterial strains for their ability to produce and evolve hydrogen, by genetically manipulating specific strains as well as by improving the conditions for cultivation in bioreactors.

Received: 17 February 1998 / Received revision: 24 April 1998 / Accepted: 27 April 1998