Fermentation (biochemistry) - Hydrogen Gas Production in Fermentation

Hydrogen Gas Production in Fermentation

Hydrogen gas is produced in many types of fermentation (mixed acid fermentation, butyric acid fermentation, caproate fermentation, butanol fermentation, glyoxylate fermentation), as a way to regenerate NAD+ from NADH. Electrons are transferred to ferredoxin, which in turn is oxidized by hydrogenase, producing H2. Hydrogen gas is a substrate for methanogens and sulfate reducers, which keep the concentration of hydrogen low and favor the production of such an energy-rich compound, but hydrogen gas at a fairly high concentration can nevertheless be formed, as in flatus.

As an example of mixed acid fermentation, bacteria such as Clostridium pasteurianum ferment glucose producing butyrate, acetate, carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas: The reaction leading to acetate is:

C6H12O6 + 4 H2O → 2 CH3COO- + 2 HCO3- + 4 H+ + 4 H2

Glucose could theoretically be converted into just CO2 and H2, but the global reaction releases little energy.

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