Failure of biohydrogen production by low levels of substrate and lactic acid accumulation

Jeong Hoon Park, Sang Hoon Lee, Hyun Jun Ju, Sang Hyoun Kim, Jeong Jun Yoon, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


To identify causes affecting the stability of biohydrogen production from the microbial community perspective, a fermentor was operated using galactose as a substrate for 30 days. The fermentor demonstrated that hydrogen production yield gradually increased with concomitant decrease of galactose concentration until day 27. Meanwhile, hydrogen producing clostridia gradually increased their proportion to 75% of bacteria analyzed until day 11, and then gradually decreased to 23% with increases in other groups of bacteria such as Bacilli. After day 27, hydrogen production abruptly failed without deterioration of galactose utilization. At that time, lactic acid accumulated to 920 mg COD/L and Ruminococcaceae increased its proportion to 30%. In conclusion, low substrate levels, beginning on day 11, provided a selective disadvantage to the hydrogen producing clostridia and proliferated other groups of bacteria, which resulted in accumulation of lactic acid and, ultimately, failure of hydrogen production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1


  • Biohydrogen
  • Clostridium
  • Galactose
  • Lactic acid
  • Substrate competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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