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Glycolytic pathway and hydrogen yield studies of the extreme thermophile Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus


NMR analysis of 13C-labelling patterns showed that the Embden–Meyerhof (EM) pathway is the main route for glycolysis in the extreme thermophile Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus. Glucose fermentation via the EM pathway to acetate results in a theoretical yield of 4 mol of hydrogen and 2 mol of acetate per mole of glucose. Previously, approximately 70% of the theoretical maximum hydrogen yield has been reached in batch fermentations. In this study, hydrogen and acetate yields have been determined at different dilution rates during continuous cultivation. The yields were dependent on the growth rate. The highest hydrogen yields of 82 to 90% of theoretical maximum (3.3 to 3.6 mol H2 per mol glucose) were obtained at low growth rates when a relatively larger part of the consumed glucose is used for maintenance. The hydrogen productivity showed the opposite effect. Both the specific and the volumetric hydrogen production rates were highest at the higher growth rates, reaching values of respectively 30 mmol g−1 h−1 and 20 mmol l−1 h−1. An industrial process for biohydrogen production will require a bioreactor design, which enables an optimal mix of high productivity and high yield.

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Jacinta van der Putten is acknowledged for thermogravimetric analyses of ash contents. Determinations of elemental compositions were done by the Analytical Department of Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). This study was financially supported by the Dutch Programme Economy, Ecology, Technology (EET), a joint initiative of the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Education, Culture and Sciences and of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (EETK03028 BWPII), the Commission of the European Communities, Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 6, Sustainable Energy Systems (019825 HYVOLUTION) and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

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Correspondence to T. de Vrije.

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de Vrije, T., Mars, A.E., Budde, M.A.W. et al. Glycolytic pathway and hydrogen yield studies of the extreme thermophile Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 74, 1358–1367 (2007).

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  • Fermentation
  • Dilution Rate
  • Hydrogen Yield
  • Biohydrogen Production
  • Hydrogen Production Rate