Finnish researchers develop method to produce biohydrogen through algae photosynthesis

May 3, 2018 |

In Finland, a research group from the University of Turku, Finland, has discovered an efficient way for transforming solar energy into the chemical energy of biohydrogen through the photosynthesis of green algae that function as cell factories.

The researchers at the University of Turku decided to apply the knowledge retrieved from the basic research on the photosynthesis of algae and established a new method for producing hydrogen that does not expose green algae to additional nutritional starvation and, thus, without applying any significant stress to the cells.

The researchers showed that the production of hydrogen could be significantly extended by simply exposing the anaerobic algal cultures to a train of strong yet short light pulses, which are interrupted by longer dark periods.

The research indicated clearly that a major obstacle to efficient hydrogen production is not oxygen but a strong competition between two metabolic pathways: carbon dioxide fixation leading to the biomass accumulation and the hydrogenase enzyme catalysing photoproduction of hydrogen.

The study opens up new possibilities for the construction of efficient living cell factories for the production of biofuels and different chemicals directly from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. The research provides important information on how to avoid ‘wasting’ solar-driven energy in biomass production and how to apply this energy directly for the production of useful bio-products.

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Category: Research

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