Analysis of the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus as a model organism for carbon sequestration, biofuel, and biomaterial production Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cj82kb45x

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  • The thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus was examined for the ability to sequester CO₂ while producing hydrogen (H₂), polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), lipids, and glycogen. H₂ was produced at a maximum rate of 188 nmol H₂ mg Chl a⁻¹ hr⁻¹. Hydrogen production occurred in the presence of methyl viologen but the cells were not able to catalyze deuterium (D₂) exchange. Screening assay studies showed that the inhibitors DCMU, DBMIB, PCP, and malonate did not effect H₂ production while H₂ production was completely inhibited when KCN was present. The physiological response and genome analysis of T. elongatus indicates that the enzyme responsible for H₂ production may differ from the Fe-only or [NiFe] bidirectional H₂ase enzymes commonly found in green algae and in other species of cyanobacteria. T. elongatus was also analyzed for the ability to grow on 5-150 mM dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and 0-30% CO₂. The effect of DIC and CO₂ concentrations on PHB, lipids, and glycogen was also measured. Glycogen and PHB were the primary carbon reserves depending on carbon availability. The highest glycogen concentration was 24.12% (w/w) with 150 mM DIC while the greatest PHB concentration was 14.5% (w/w) in cultures grown with 0% supplemental CO₂. Lipid content did not vary significantly with carbon concentrations and averaged around 15-20% (w/w) for all culture conditions. Cultures grown on CO₂ showed no difference in glycogen content over the range of CO₂ concentrations tested. Bioreactor experiments showed that T. elongatus was able to grow on up to 20% CO₂ while sequestering a maximum of 1.15 g L⁻¹ over the 9 day experiment. The maximum productivity and CO₂ fixation rates were 0.09±0.01 mg d⁻¹ and 0.17±0.01 mg ml⁻¹ d⁻¹, respectively, for cultures grown on 20% CO₂.
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