The recent rapid growth of the biodiesel industry has generated a significant amount of glycerol as a byproduct. As a result, the price of glycerol is currently relatively low, making it an attractive starting material for the production of chemicals with higher values. Crude glycerol can be directly converted through microbial fermentation into various chemicals such as hydrogen. In this study, we optimized immobilization of a facultative hydrogen producing microorganism, Enterobacter aerogenes, with the goal of developing biocatalysts that was appropriate for the continuous hydrogen production from glycerol. Several carriers were tested and agar was found to be the most effective. In addition, it was clearly shown that variables such as the carrier content and cell loading should be controlled for the immobilization of biocatalysts with high hydrogen productivity, stability, and reusability. After optimization of these variables, we were able to obtain reusable biocatalysts that could directly convert the byproduct stream from biodiesel processes into hydrogen in continuous processes.
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Acknowledgments This work was financially supported by the Eco-Technopia 21 project (2009-03002-002-0) of Ministry of Environment, Korea and by the Basic Research Program of Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.
- Enterobacter aerogenes
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