Sodium borohydride removes aldehyde inhibitors for enhancing biohydrogen fermentation

Richen Lin, Jun Cheng, Lingkan Ding, Wenlu Song, Junhu Zhou, Kefa Cen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


To enhance biohydrogen production from glucose and xylose in the presence of aldehyde inhibitors, reducing agent (i.e., sodium borohydride) was in situ added for effective detoxification. The detoxification efficiencies of furfural (96.7%) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF, 91.7%) with 30mM NaBH4 were much higher than those of vanillin (77.3%) and syringaldehyde (69.3%). Biohydrogen fermentation was completely inhibited without detoxification, probably because of the consumption of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) by inhibitors reduction (R-CHO+2NADH→R-CH2OH+2NAD+). Addition of 30mM NaBH4 provided the reducing power necessary for inhibitors reduction (4R-CHO+NaBH4+2H2O→4R-CH2OH+NaBO2). The recovered reducing power in fermentation resulted in 99.3% recovery of the hydrogen yield and 64.6% recovery of peak production rate. Metabolite production and carbon conversion after detoxification significantly increased to 63.7mM and 81.9%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation – China (51176163, 51476141), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation – China (LR14E060002).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Aldehydes
  • Detoxification
  • Hydrogen fermentation
  • Sodium borohydride


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