Exogenous Carbon Substrates for Biohydrogen Production and Organics Removal Using Microalgal-Bacterial Co-Culture

Muhammad Asad Javed, Abdul Mannan Zafar, Sulaiman Al-Zuhair, Amro El Badawy, Ashraf Aly Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The co-culture of microalgae and bacteria is the most effective and appropriate pathway for synergetic H2production using photofermentative and biophotolytic metabolic pathways. The integration of wastewater activated sludge as a waste resource in co-culture acts as a bacterial partner. This study assessed the co-culture of Chlorella vulgaris and real wastewater activated sludge with different carbon substrates for the improvement of H2production and simultaneous organics removal. Three different inoculum ratios of 1.5:1, 1:1, and 1:1.5 v/v (microalgae/activated sludge) were used with glucose, sorbitol, and mannitol at 10 g/L as exogenous carbon substrates. A high-value activated sludge of 15.1 g chemical oxygen demand (COD)/L was used as the bacterial source. The highest H2production of 1246 mL/L was observed in 1:1.5 v/v inoculum ratio using glucose, followed by 831 and 340 mL/L in co-cultures with sorbitol and mannitol addition, respectively. The inoculum ratio of 1:1.5 v/v also achieved ∼33% COD and ∼47% TS removal efficiencies in O2-deficient tris-acetate-phosphate (TAP) medium. This study demonstrated, based on experimental data, that the model glucose supplementation was hierarchically the most appropriate carbon substrate for a higher H2yield and substantial organics removal in co-culture. A lower H2yield is expected when decomposing actual food waste containing different sugars and complex organics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15490-15500
Number of pages11
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - Nov 28 2022


  • Hproduction
  • activated sludge
  • carbon substrates
  • co-culture
  • microalgae
  • photofermentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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