Effect of pH and sulfate concentration on hydrogen production using anaerobic mixed microflora

Jae Hoon Hwang, Jeong A. Choi, R. A I Abou-Shanab, Amit Bhatnagar, Booki Min, Hocheol Song, Eva Kumar, Jaeyoung Choi, Eung Seok Lee, Yong Je Kim, Sukkee Um, Dae Sung Lee, Byong Hun Jeon

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The effects of varying sulfate concentrations with pH on continuous fermentative hydrogen production were studied using anaerobic mixed cultures growing on a glucose substrate in a chemostat reactor. The maximum hydrogen production rate was 2.8 L/day at pH 5.5 and sulfate concentration of 3000 mg/L. Hydrogen production and residual sulfate level decreased with increasing the pH from 5.5 to 6.2. The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and ethanol fractions in the effluent were in the order of butyric acid (HBu) > acetic acid (HAc) > ethanol > propionic acid (HPr). Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed the presence of hydrogen producing bacteria (HPB) under all pH ranges while sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) were present at pH 5.8 and 6.2. The inhibition in hydrogen production by SRB at pH 6.2 diminished entirely by lowering to pH 5.5, at which activity of SRB is substantially suppressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9702-9710
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Anaerobic mixed microflora
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Hydrogen production
  • Sulfate
  • pH

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