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Novel strategies towards efficient molecular biohydrogen production by dark fermentative mechanism: present progress and future perspective

Abstract

In the scenario of alarming increase in greenhouse and toxic gas emissions from the burning of conventional fuels, it is high time that the population drifts towards alternative fuel usage to obviate pollution. Hydrogen is an environment-friendly biofuel with high energy content. Several production methods exist to produce hydrogen, but the least energy intensive processes are the fermentative biohydrogen techniques. Dark fermentative biohydrogen production (DFBHP) is a value-added, less energy-consuming process to generate biohydrogen. In this process, biohydrogen can be produced from sugars as well as complex substrates that are generally considered as organic waste. Yet, the process is constrained by many factors such as low hydrogen yield, incomplete conversion of substrates, accumulation of volatile fatty acids which lead to the drop of the system pH resulting in hindered growth and hydrogen production by the bacteria. To circumvent these drawbacks, researchers have come up with several strategies that improve the yield of DFBHP process. These strategies can be classified as preliminary methodologies concerned with the process optimization and the latter that deals with pretreatment of substrate and seed sludge, bioaugmentation, co-culture of bacteria, supplementation of additives, bioreactor design considerations, metabolic engineering, nanotechnology, immobilization of bacteria, etc. This review sums up some of the improvement techniques that profoundly enhance the biohydrogen productivity in a DFBHP process.

Graphical abstract

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Abbreviations

DFBHP:

Dark fermentative biohydrogen production

HY:

Hydrogen yield

SOx :

Sulfur oxides

NOx :

Nitrogen oxides

VFAs:

Volatile fatty acids

OFMSW:

Organic fraction of municipal solid waste

HPR:

Hydrogen production rate

WAS:

Waste activated sludge

HMF:

Hydroxy methyl furfural

HPr:

Propionic acid

OLRs:

Organic loading rates

COD:

Chemical oxygen demand

PFBHP:

Photo fermentative biohydrogen production process

HRT:

Hydraulic retention time

BESA:

2-Bromoethane sulfonic acid

PFOR:

Pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase

Fdox :

Oxidized ferredoxin

NFOR:

NADH ferredoxin oxidoreductase

PFL:

Pyruvate formate lyase

FHL:

Formate hydrogen lyase

Pts:

Phosphotransferase system

CCR:

Carbon catabolite repression

NPs:

Nanoparticles

FOCNPs:

Ferric oxide/carbon nanoparticles

HPB:

Hydrogen-producing bacteria

AgNPs:

Silver nanoparticles

HTs:

Hydrotalcites

TAC:

Treated activated carbon

TS:

Total solids

EGSB:

Expanded granular sludge bed reactor

CSTR:

Continuous stirred tank reactor

FBRs:

Fixed bed reactor

PVC:

Polyvinyl chloride

AC:

Activated carbon

CPE:

Chlorinated polyethylene

LS:

Loofah sponge

AnSBR:

Anaerobic sequencing bioreactor

PBF:

Packed biofilter

UASB:

Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket

VHPR:

Volumetric hydrogen production rate

MWCNTs:

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Ministry of Education (MoE), Govt of India for bestowing the first author with the post-graduation fellowship. The authors are extremely grateful to the facilities and support provided by the Department of Biotechnology, Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India and the Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry, Florence University, Italy.

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Jayachandran, V., Basak, N., De Philippis, R. et al. Novel strategies towards efficient molecular biohydrogen production by dark fermentative mechanism: present progress and future perspective. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00449-022-02738-4

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Keywords

  • Biohydrogen
  • Dark fermentation
  • Pretreatment
  • Immobilization
  • Nanotechnology