Biophotolysis-Based Hydrogen Production by Cyanobacteria

  • Mozhgan GhiasianEmail author
Part of the Biofuel and Biorefinery Technologies book series (BBT, volume 10)


Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, comprising approximately 75% of all matter by weight, molecular hydrogen (H2) exists in only trace amounts within the Earth’s atmosphere. As a gaseous and carbon-free fuel, hydrogen can be combusted with water and therefore is regarded as a clean nonpolluting fuel. Hydrogen is produced by steam reformation of methane, gasification of coal and biomass, and metabolic pathway of special type of microorganisms, commonly known as biological hydrogen production. Biological hydrogen evolution provides a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce clean energy from renewable resources. Biological hydrogen production processes are mostly controlled by either photosynthetic or fermentative organisms. Hydrogen can be produced biologically by direct biophotolysis, indirect biophotolysis, photofermentation, dark fermentation, combination of these processes (such as integration of dark- and photofermentation, etc.) or by water–gas shift reaction. Among a selection of biological systems, cyanobacteria have become a major source as potential cell factories for hydrogen production. They are highly promising microorganisms for biological photohydrogen production. Cyanobacteria grow by photosynthesis, and essentially contain chlorophyll and various carotenoids whose main functions are light-harvesting and photoprotection. They produce chlorophyll a, and most also have characteristic pigments called phycobilins, which function as accessory pigments in photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria produce hydrogen gas using nitrogenase and/or hydrogenase. This study explains the potential of cyanobacteria to produce biohydrogen and focuses on biophotolysis-based hydrogen production by cyanobacteria.


Cyanobacteria Direct biophotolysis Hydrogen production Hydrogenases Indirect biophotolysis Nitrogenase 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyFalavarjan Branch, Islamic Azad UniversityIsfahanIran

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