Photoheterotrophic Hydrogen Production of Rhodobacter sphaeroides KCTC 1434 under Alternating Ar and N2 Headspace Gas

Ruby Lynn G. Ventura1*, Jey-R S. Ventura2, and Young-Sook Oh3

1Rural High School, College of Arts and Science, University of the
Philippines Los Baños, Paciano Rizal, Bay 4033 Laguna, Philippines
2Department of Engineering Science, College of Engineering and Agro-
Industrial Technology, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College,
Los Baños 4031 Laguna, Philippines
3Department of Environmental Engineering and Energy, Myongji University,
116 Myongji-Ro, Cheoin-Gu, Yongin, Gyeonggi-Do 449-728 Republic of Korea

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




In this paper, the effect of switching argon (Ar) and nitrogen (N2) headspace gases during the onset of photofermentative H2 production on butyrate and propionate was studied using Rhodobacter sphaeroides KCTC 1434. Reactor headspace were initially purged with N2 in the first set-up, while Ar was used in the second set-up. After 60 h, the first set of reactors were repurged with N2 (PN2R, BN2R); while the second set were replaced with Ar (PArR, BArR). Results showed that replacement with N2 automatically decreased H2 productivity in propionate and butyrate by 5.5 and 4.0 times, respectively. Replacement with N2 led to changes in cell densities and increased final pH in the culture medium. On the other hand, initial exposure to N2 and subsequent re-purging with Ar significantly increased (p = 7.87 x 10–10) cell weight and delayed entry of the strain to stationary phase of cell growth. H2 production lag times were determined to be 144 h for PArR (Substrate conversion efficiency, SCE = 96.63%) and 172 h for BArR (SCE = 55.60%). Exposure to any of the gases did not bring significant difference in substrate consumption. Overall, the investigation showed that utilizing N2­-to-Ar headspace purging is feasible in photofermentation setup. Further exploration involving pH control and quantification of ammonia (NH3) and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) may be carried to extend the use of this setup in a photofermentation system.



The worldwide dependency on fossil fuel has created the aggravation of global warming by greenhouse gas emission from combustion products. This reliance on fossil-based fuel leads to significant depletion of buried combustible geologic deposits (Chandrasekhar et al. 2015) and makes the global economy immensely vulnerable to the state of petroleum industry. Scientific endeavors are engaged in developing alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuel.  Among these alternatives, H2 offers a tremendous potential as a clean and renewable energy currency. Unlike other alternative fuels, the combustion of H2 produces water instead of CO2 and other carbon-based emissions. H2 energy yield (122 kJ/g) is greater . . . . read more



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