Reusing pulp and paper mill effluent as a bioresource to produce biohydrogen through ultrasonicated Rhodobacter sphaeroides

Jacqueline Xiao Wen Hay, Ta Yeong Wu, Boon Junn Ng, Joon Ching Juan, Jamaliah Md. Jahim

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Pulp and paper industry is a water-intensive industry. This industry commonly produces considerable amount of effluent, especially from virgin raw materials processing. The effluent, namely pulp and paper mill effluent has the potential to adversely affect the receiving watercourses. However, the nutrients in the pulp and paper mill effluent could be reused as a substrate in biohydrogen production. In this study, photofermentative biohydrogen production was investigated using Rhodobacter sphaeroides and pulp and paper mill effluent as a substrate. An application of low power ultrasound on R. sphaeroides was predicted to increase photofermentative biohydrogen production but excessive ultrasound effects might inhibit the production due to possible cell disruption. Hence, various ultrasonication duration (5, 10 and 15 min) and amplitude (15%, 30% and 45%) were applied on the bacteria to determine the recommended ultrasonication conditions for improving biohydrogen production. The recommended conditions were operated at ultrasonication amplitude and duration of 30% and 10 min, respectively. A maximum biohydrogen yield of 9.62 mL bioH2/mL medium was obtained under this condition, which was 66.7% higher than the result obtained using R. sphaeroides without undergoing ultrasonication (control). The light efficiency and cell concentration were increased by 67% and 150%, respectively, using ultrasonication amplitude and duration of 30% and 10 min, respectively as compared to the control. The present results demonstrated that moderate power of ultrasonication applied on R. sphaeroides was an effective method for enhancing photofermentative biohydrogen production using raw pulp and paper mill effluent as a bioresource.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Photofermentation
  • Pulp and paper mill effluent
  • Purple non-sulfur bacteria
  • Renewable energy
  • Ultrasound
  • Wastewater reuse

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