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


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.


Cellular biocomposite; Microbial paper; Microfibrillar cellulose; Cellular immobilization

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126