Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 9, pp 4107–4116 | Cite as

Improving biohydrogen production using Clostridium beijerinckii immobilized with magnetite nanoparticles

  • Trevor Seelert
  • Dipankar Ghosh
  • Viviane Yargeau
Bioenergy and biofuels


In order to supplement the need for alternative energy resources within the near future, enhancing the production of biohydrogen with immobilized Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB8052 was investigated. Magnetite nanoparticles were functionalized, with chitosan and alginic acid polyelectrolytes using a layer-by-layer method, to promote bacterial attachment. Cultivating C. beijerinckii with these nanoparticles resulted in a shorter lag growth phase and increased total biohydrogen production within 100-ml, 250-ml and 3.6-L reactors compared with freely suspended organisms. The greatest hydrogen yield was obtained in the 250-ml reactor with a value of 2.1 ± 0.7 mol H2/mol glucose, corresponding to substrate conversion and energy conversion efficiencies of 52 ± 18 and 10 ± 3 %, respectively. The hydrogen yields obtained using the immobilized bacteria are comparable to values found in literature. However, to make this process viable, further improvements are required to increase the substrate and energy conversion efficiencies.


Biohydrogen Clostridium beijerinckii Magnetite Chitosan Alginic acid Immobilization 



We would like to thank Prof. Patrick C. Hallenbeck for his technical advice throughout the project. Special thanks to Mr. Ranjan Roy for his help with analytical equipment and to Dr. David Liu for his help with TEM imaging. Funding for this research was provided by FRQNT—Project de recherche en équipe. T. Seelert and D. Ghosh were supported by a Eugenie Ulmer Lamothe and FQRNT-PBEEE Scholarships, respectively.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have potential conflict of interest to disclose.

Ethical statement

The authors confirm that principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed in this research and in the preparation of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

253_2015_6484_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (570 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 569 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor Seelert
    • 1
  • Dipankar Ghosh
    • 2
  • Viviane Yargeau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Département de Microbiologie et ImmunologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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