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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 15, pp 7005–7013 | Cite as

The membraneless bioelectrochemical reactor stimulates hydrogen fermentation by inhibiting methanogenic archaea

  • Kengo Sasaki
  • Masahiko MoritaEmail author
  • Daisuke Sasaki
  • Naoya Ohmura
  • Yasuo Igarashi
Environmental biotechnology

Abstract

The membraneless bioelectrochemical reactor (Ml-BER) is useful for dark hydrogen fermentation. The effect of the electrochemical reaction on microorganisms in the Ml-BER was investigated using glucose as the substrate and compared with organisms in a membraneless non-bioelectrochemical reactor (Ml-NBER) and bioelectrochemical reactor (BER) with a proton exchange membrane. The potentials on the working electrode of the Ml-BER and BER with membrane were regulated to −0.9 V (versus Ag/AgCl) to avoid water electrolysis with a carbon electrode. The Ml-BER showed suppressed methane production (19.8 ± 9.1 mg-C·L−1·day−1) and increased hydrogen production (12.6 ± 3.1 mg-H·L−1·day−1) at pHout 6.2 ± 0.1, and the major intermediate was butyrate (24.9 ± 2.4 mM), suggesting efficient hydrogen fermentation. In contrast, the Ml-NBER showed high methane production (239.3 ± 17.9 mg-C·L−1·day−1) and low hydrogen production (0.2 ± 0.0 mg-H·L−1·day−1) at pHout 6.3 ± 0.1. In the cathodic chamber of the BER with membrane, methane production was high (276.3 ± 20.4 mg-C·L−1·day−1) (pHout, 7.2 ± 0.1). In the anodic chamber of the BER with membrane (anode-BER), gas production was low because of high lactate production (43.6 ± 1.7 mM) at pHout 5.0 ± 0.1. Methanogenic archaea were not detected in the Ml-BER and anode-BER. However, Methanosarcina sp. and Methanobacterium sp. were found in Ml-NBER. Prokaryotic copy numbers in the Ml-BER and Ml-NBER were similar, as were the bacterial community structures. Thus, the electrochemical reaction in the Ml-BER affected hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogens, but not the bacterial community.

Keywords

Hydrogen Fermentation Bioelectrochemical system Microbial community Methanogen 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan, and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (24780067). We thank Yumi Kotake for her help.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kengo Sasaki
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Masahiko Morita
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daisuke Sasaki
    • 1
  • Naoya Ohmura
    • 1
  • Yasuo Igarashi
    • 2
  1. 1.Biotechnology Sector, Environmental Science Research LaboratoryCentral Research Institute of Electric Power IndustryAbiko-shiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan
  3. 3.Organization of Advanced Science and TechnologyKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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