Microbial Paper: Cellulose Fiber-based Photo-Absorber Producing Hydrogen Gas from Acetate using Dry-Stabilized Rhodopseudomonas palustris

Oscar I. Bernal, Joel Justin Pawlak, Michael C. Flickinger

Abstract


The microstructure and reactivity of a novel nonwoven cellulose fiber cellular biocomposite (microbial paper) was studied relative to long-term stabilization of potentially any microorganism. Cells were incorporated during the papermaking process as an integral component of a highly porous cellular biocomposite that can be dry stabilized. Hydrogen gas production from acetate via the activity of the nitrogenases in Rhodopseudomonas palustris CGA009, entrapped at a very high concentration, in hand-made microbial paper was sustained for > 1000 h at a rate of 4.0 ± 0.28 mmol H2/m2 h-1 following rehydration. This rate is 2x and 10x greater than previously reported H2 production rates by Rps. palustris latex coatings that were dried on polyester and non-dried formulations applied to the surface of paper, respectively. By vacuum-dewatering and controlled drying steps to the microbial papermaking process and incorporating blends of microfibrillar (MFC), softwood (SW), and hardwood (HW) cellulose fibers, microbial paper films were fabricated that produced H2 gas at 3.94 ± 1.07 mmol H2/m2 h-1 and retain up to 60 mg/m-2 dry cell weight (DCW) of Rps. palustris. The MFC content appears to determine the final cell load and may affect gas/moisture mass transfer properties of the biocomposite.

Keywords


Cellular biocomposite; Microbial paper; Microfibrillar cellulose; Cellular immobilization

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