Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 309–314 | Cite as

Long-term H2 photoproduction from starch by co-culture of Clostridium butyricum and Rhodobacter sphaeroides in a repeated batch process

  • Tatyana Laurinavichene
  • Kestutis Laurinavichius
  • Evgeny Shastik
  • Anatoly Tsygankov
Original Research Paper



To prove the possibility of efficient starch photofermentation in co-culture of heterotrophic and phototrophic bacteria over prolonged period.


Repeated batch photofermentation of starch was demonstrated in co-culture Clostridium butyricum and Rhodobacter sphaeroides under microaerobic conditions. It continued 15 months without addition of new inoculum or pH regulation when using 4–5 g starch l−1 and 0.04 g yeast extract l−1. The complete degradation of starch without volatile fatty acids accumulation was shown in this co-culture. The average H2 yield of 5.2 mol/mol glucose was much higher than that in Clostridium monoculture. The species composition of co-culture was studied by q-PCR assay. The concentration of Clostridium cells in prolonged co-culture was lower than in monoculture and even in a single batch co-culture. This means that Clostridia growth was significantly limited whereas starch hydrolysis still took place.


The prolonged repeated batch photofermentation of starch by co-culture C. butyricum and R. sphaeroides provided efficient H2 production without accumulation of organic acids under conditions of Clostridia limitation.


Clostridia Co-culture Hydrogen production Photofermentation Purple bacteria Repeated batch process 



This work was supported by Russian Science Foundation Grant No. 15-14-30007.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatyana Laurinavichene
    • 1
  • Kestutis Laurinavichius
    • 2
  • Evgeny Shastik
    • 1
  • Anatoly Tsygankov
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biotechnology and Physiology of Phototrophic Organisms, Institute of Basic Biological ProblemsRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  2. 2.Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of MicroorganismsRussian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia

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