Desulfovibrio vulgaris Growth Coupled to Formate-Driven H2 Production

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Formate is recognized as a superior substrate for biological H2 production by several bacteria. However, the growth of a single organism coupled to this energetic pathway has not been shown in mesophilic conditions. In the present study, a bioreactor with gas sparging was used, where we observed for the first time that H2 production from formate can be coupled with growth of the model sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris in the absence of sulfate or a syntrophic partner. In these conditions, D. vulgaris had a maximum growth rate of 0.078 h-1 and a doubling time of 9 h, and the δG of the reaction ranged between -21 and -18 kJ mol-1. This is the first report of a single mesophilic organism that can grow while catalyzing the oxidation of formate to H2 and bicarbonate. Furthermore, high volumetric and specific H2 production rates (125 mL L-1 h-1 and 2500 mL gdcw-1 h-1) were achieved in a new bioreactor designed and optimized for H2 production. This high H2 production demonstrates that the nonconventional H2-producing organism D. vulgaris is a good biocatalyst for converting formate to H2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14655-14662
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015


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