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A culture apparatus for maintaining H2 at sub-nanomolar concentrations


We devised a microbial culture apparatus capable of maintaining sub-nanomolar H2 concentrations. This apparatus provides a method for study of interspecies hydrogen transfer by externally fulfilling the thermodynamic requirement for low H2 concentrations, thereby obviating the need for use of cocultures to study some forms of metabolism. The culture vessel is constructed of glass and operates by sparging a liquid culture with purified gases, thereby removing H2 as it is produced. We used the culture apparatus to decouple a syntrophic association in an ethanol-consuming, methanogenic enrichment culture, allowing ethanol oxidation to dominate methane production. We also used the culture apparatus to grow pure cultures of the ethanol-oxidizing, proton-reducing Pelobacter acetylenicus (WoAcy 1), and to study the bioenergetics of growth.

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