Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Microbiology

Advisor

Henson, John M

Committee Member

Riley , Melissa B

Committee Member

Tzeng , Tzuen- Rong

Abstract

Thermotoga neapolitana is an anaerobic thermophilic marine bacterium that has been reported to degrade cellulose. This hyperthermophilic bacterium grows at 77¡C and could be used in large scale applications because of its ability to withstand extreme conditions. The aim of this study was to analyze the growth and production of hydrogen by T. neapolitana when grown on various carbon sources including the bioenergy crop switchgrass. Switchgrass was provided by the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center and was milled to about 4mm in size. Switchgrass was then added to an anaerobic medium and inoculated with T. neapolitana . Headspace gas analysis indicated production of about 5% hydrogen from switchgrass. The physical nature of the switchgrass was visibly altered and dry weight analysis indicated that about 9.4% of switchgrass was degraded. Treatment to remove lignin did not improve conversion efficiency. Heat treatment of the switchgrass by autoclaving did not have an effect on the hydrogen production. Increasing concentrations of switchgrass in the medium led to a corresponding increase in turbidity and the headspace hydrogen percentage. Potential effects of light on the growth and hydrogen production of T. neapolitana were also evaluated. When grown on carbohydrates in the dark, the growth as measured by turbidity was greater than when grown in room light conditions.

Included in

Microbiology Commons

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