Biofuels are anticipated to enable a shift from fossil fuels for renewable transportation and manufacturing fuels, with biohydrogen considered attractive since it could offer the largest reduction of global carbon budgets. Currently, lignocellulosic biohydrogen production remains inefficient with pretreatments that are heavily fossil fuel-dependent. However, bacteria using alkali-treated biomass could streamline biofuel production while reducing costs and fossil fuel needs. An alkaliphilic bacterium, Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans, is described that is capable of biohydrogen production at levels rivaling neutrophilic strains, but at pH 11 and hypersaline conditions. H. hydrogeniformans ferments a variety of 5-and 6-carbon sugars derived from hemicellulose and cellulose including cellobiose, and forms the end products hydrogen, acetate, and formate. Further, it can also produce biohydrogen from switchgrass and straw pretreated at temperatures far lower than any previously reported and in solutions compatible with growth. Hence, this bacterium can potentially increase the efficiency and efficacy of biohydrogen production from renewable biomass resources.


Biological Sciences

Second Department

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


United States. Department of Energy. Office of Biological and Environmental Research
University of Missouri. Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Program


This work was made possible through support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research and the University of Missouri Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Program.

Keywords and Phrases

Alkaliphile; Biofuel; Biohydrogen; Extremophile

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Publication Date

01 Mar 2012