Using reverse micelles as microreactor for hydrogen production by coupled systems of Nostoc/R. palustris and Anabaena/R. palustris

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Uptake hydrogenase negative mutants of bloom forming cyanobacteria (Nostoc and Anabaena) and the fermentative bacteria Rhodopseudomonas palustris P4 were used together for producing hydrogen within the reverse micelles fabricated by N-ethyl hexyl sodium sulfosuccinate (AOT) in isooctane and cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) in benzene. The rate of H2 production in AOT/isooctane reverse micellar system was found to be more promising in comparison to the CTAB/Benzene reverse micellar entrapment. After mutagenesis in 2.0% (v/v) ethyl methane sulphonate (EMS) mutants of Nostoc and Anabaena were selected on BG-11 plates (containing 2% agar) and then used for analysis of produced hydrogen. In comparison to the unmutated Nostoc with R. palustris (within AOT/isooctane) the coupled system of mutated Nostoc and R. palustris produced H2 by 3.9-fold higher rate, which is 8.6 mmol H2/h/mg protein. Whereas, mutated Anabaena coupled with R. palustris produced 4.8 times higher hydrogen production within (AOT)/isooctane reverse micelles in comparison to the unmutated Anabaena with R. palustris. Effect of nitrogen to carbon ratio (N/C) on hydrogen production was studied and Anabaena/R. palustris and Nostoc/R. palustris systems were, respectively, found to generate 11.2 and 9.8 mmol H2/h/mg protein continuously for 3 days. Effects of temperature and light intensity were also investigated and we found that 32°C temperature and 1,000 Lux light intensity are the optimum values in these systems. Addition of sodium dithionite also resulted in further enhancement of the rate and duration of hydrogen production in both (mutated Nostoc/R. palustris and mutated Anabaena/R. palustris) systems.

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