Continuous hydrogen production by the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1

Tamotsu Kanai, Hiroyuki Imanaka, Akihito Nakajima, Kenetsu Uwamori, Yoshiyuki Omori, Toshiaki Fukui, Haruyuki Atomi, Tadayuki Imanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


The hydrogen (H2) production potential of the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 was evaluated at 85°C. In batch cultivation using a complex medium supplemented with elemental sulfur (S 0), evolution of H2S and CO2 was observed in the gas phase. When S0 was omitted and pyruvate or starch was added in the medium, the cells produced H2 at high levels instead of H 2S. As the level of H2 appeared to correlate with the specific growth rate, analysis in continuous cultures was performed to develop a continuous H2 production system. In a steady-state condition at a dilution rate of 0.2 h-1, a continuous H2 production rate (per gram dry weight, gdw) of 24.9 and 14.0 mmol gdw-1 h-1 was observed in media supplemented with pyruvate and starch, respectively. In both cultivations, a high accumulation of acetate and alanine was found as metabolites. When the dilution rates were elevated in the medium with pyruvate, steady-state growth was observed up to 0.8 h-1, and a maximum H 2 production rate of 59.6 mmol gdw-1 h-1 was obtained. Based on the experimental results along with data of the entire genome sequence, the metabolic pathway of the strain relating to starch and pyruvate degradation is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 30 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Archaea
  • Hydrogen production
  • Hydrogenase
  • Hyperthermophile
  • Thermococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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