Cyanobacteria hydrogen production more than double

September 11, 2013

SigE protein controls both production of hydrogen and bioplastics

The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has succeeded in genetically modifying cyanobacteria to more than double their hydrogen production.

Transcriptome analysis has suggested that SigE protein activates transcription of hydrogenase, an enzyme producing hydrogen in this cyanobacterium.. The strain overexpressing sigE accumulated 1.5% hydrogen during dark and anaerobic conditions in the headspace, while the parental wild-type strain accumulated 0.7% hydrogen.

These results will contribute to a new infrastructure for hydrogen production with cyanobacteria. Interestingly, Previous study demonstrated that SigE also promotes bioplastic production during nitrogen starvation. These results indicate that a same factor controls both hydrogen and bioplastic metabolism in this cyanobacterium. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms is required for further increase in hydrogen and bioplastics production, leading to green innovation using this microalgae.

Original article
The Plant Journal doi: 0.1111/tpj.12310
T. Osanai, A. Kuwahara, H. Iijima, K. Toyooka, M. Sato, K. Tanaka, M. Ikeuchi, K. Saito, MY. Hirai,
"Pleiotropic effect of sigE overexpression on cell morphology, photosynthesis, and hydrogen production in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.".
Masami Hirai: Team Leader
Takashi Osanai: Visiting Scientist
Metabolic Systems Research Team, Metabolomics Research Group