New publication by Ergal et al. in Applied Microbiology


"Scale-Up of Dark Fermentative Biohydrogen Production by Artificial Microbial Co-Cultures"

Congratulations to Ipek Ergal, Elisa Zech, Nikola Hanišáková, Ivan Kushkevych, Werner Fuchs, Tomás Vítěz, Monika Vítězová, Günther Bochmann and Simon Rittmann on their new article in Applied Microbiology 2(1):  215-226.

"Scale-Up of Dark Fermentative Biohydrogen Production by Artificial Microbial Co-Cultures"

Available here:

Ergal and Zech et al. scale-up dark fermentative biohydrogen production by using a co-culture of two bacteria in lab scale bioreactors. This study is an major step forward to enable an energy transition by biologically producing H2 at high rate and yield."


Full abstract

As a renewable energy carrier, dark fermentative biohydrogen (H2) represents a promising future alternative to fossil fuels. Recently, the limited H2 yield of 4 moles of H2 per mole glucose, the so-called “Thauer limit”, was surpassed by a defined artificial consortium. In this article, we demonstrate the upscaling of this drawing board design, from serum bottles to laboratory scale bioreactors. Our results illustrate that this designed microbial co-culture can be successfully implemented in batch mode, with maximum H2 yields of 6.18 and 4.45 mol mol−1 substrate. Furthermore, we report volumetric H2 productivities of 105.6 and 80.8 mmol H2 L−1 h−1These rates are higher than for any other dark fermentative H2 production system using a synthetic microbial co-culture applied in batch mode on a defined medium. Our study is an important step forward for the application of artificial microbial consortia in future biotechnology and energy production systems.

Ipek Ergal
Elisa Zech
Simon Rittmann