Enhanced hydrogen production by Nostoc sp. CU2561 immobilized in a novel agar bead

  • Thadcha Sukrachan
  • Aran IncharoensakdiEmail author


A large number of microalgae isolated from Thailand were screened for their hydrogen production capacity. The selected highly efficient microalga, identified as Nostoc sp. CU2561, was investigated for the conditions under which the cells had maximal hydrogen production rate. Nostoc sp. CU2561 showed highest hydrogen production rate when grown in BG11 medium deprived of nitrogen and sulfur (BG11-N-S). To further improve hydrogen production, newly invented agar beads were used as matrix for cell immobilization. The highest hydrogen production rate by 1.5% (w/v) agar bead immobilized cells was obtained using cell concentration of 0.125 mg dry wt mL−1. Agar bead–immobilized cells showed superior hydrogen production rate, 1.5-fold higher when compared with agar cube–immobilized cells, and 5- and 10-fold higher when compared with those in alginate bead–immobilized and alginate bead–suspended cells, respectively. Supplementation of 0.5% (w/v) fructose increased hydrogen production rate of agar bead–immobilized cells approximately 1.7-fold, whereas the reducing agent β-mercaptoethanol increased hydrogen production rate by about 8.2-fold. Overall, Nostoc sp. CU2561 immobilized in agar bead showed the highest hydrogen production rate when incubated in BG11-N-S containing 5 mM β-mercaptoethanol with the highest hydrogen production rate of 18.78 ± 1.44 μmol H2 mg−1 chl a h−1. In addition, agar bead–immobilized cells could continuously produce hydrogen for 3 cycles. The hydrogen production by immobilized cells could be prolonged up to 120 h during the first cycle. This study provides a potential of new immobilization strategy using cyanobacteria immobilized in agar bead for hydrogen production which can be applied to scale up at industrial level in the future.


Hydrogen production Immobilization Agar bead Cyanobacteria Nostoc sp. CU2561 


Funding information

AI received research grants from Chulalongkorn University on the Frontier Research Energy Cluster and from Thailand Research Fund (IRG 5780008). TS is a recipient of Science Achievement Scholarship of Thailand. TS and AI were financially supported by the 90th Anniversary of Chulalongkorn University Fund (Ratchadaphiseksomphote Endowment Fund).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 408 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Laboratory of Cyanobacterial Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Program of Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Academy of Science, Royal Society of ThailandBangkokThailand

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