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Title: Metabolic Engineering and Modeling of Metabolic Pathways to Improve Hydrogen Production by Photosynthetic Bacteria

Rising energy demands and the imperative to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are driving research on biofuels development. Hydrogen gas (H2) is one of the most promising biofuels and is seen as a future energy carrier by virtue of the fact that 1) it is renewable, 2) does not evolve the “greenhouse gas” CO2 in combustion, 3) liberates large amounts of energy per unit weight in combustion (having about 3 times the energy content of gasoline), and 4) is easily converted to electricity by fuel cells. Among the various bioenergy strategies, environmental groups and others say that the concept of the direct manufacture of alternative fuels, such as H2, by photosynthetic organisms is the only biofuel alternative without significant negative criticism [1]. Biological H2 production by photosynthetic microorganisms requires the use of a simple solar reactor such as a transparent closed box, with low energy requirements, and is considered as an attractive system to develop as a biocatalyst for H2 production [2]. Various purple bacteria including Rhodopseudomonas palustris, can utilize organic substrates as electron donors to produce H2 at the expense of solar energy. Because of the elimination of energy cost used for H2O oxidation and the prevention of themore » production of O2 that inhibits the H2-producing enzymes, the efficiency of light energy conversion to H2 by anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria is in principle much higher than that by green algae or cyanobacteria, and is regarded as one of the most promising cultures for biological H2 production [3]. Here implemented a simple and relatively straightforward strategy for hydrogen production by photosynthetic microorganisms using sunlight, sulfur- or iron-based inorganic substrates, and CO2 as the feedstock. Carefully selected microorganisms with bioengineered beneficial traits act as the biocatalysts of the process designed to both enhance the system efficiency of CO2 fixation and the net hydrogen production rate. Additionally we applied metabolic engineering approaches guided by computational modeling for the chosen model microorganisms to enable efficient hydrogen production.« less
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
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Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States