Metabolic engineering for enhanced hydrogen production: A review

Yogesh Goyal, Manish Kumar, Kalyan Gayen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Hydrogen gas exhibits potential as a sustainable fuel for the future. Therefore, many attempts have been made with the aim of producing high yields of hydrogen gas through renewable biological routes. Engineering of strains to enhance the production of hydrogen gas has been an active area of research for the past 2 decades. This includes overexpression of hydrogen-producing genes (native and heterologous), knockout of competitive pathways, creation of a new productive pathway, and creation of dual systems. Interestingly, genetic mutations in 2 different strains of the same species may not yield similar results. Similarly, 2 different studies on hydrogen productivities may differ largely for the same mutation and on the same species. Consequently, here we analyzed the effect of various genetic modifications on several species, considering a wide range of published data on hydrogen biosynthesis. This article includes a comprehensive metabolic engineering analysis of hydrogenproducing organisms, namely Escherichia coli, Clostridium, and Enterobacter species, and in addition, a short discussion on thermophilic and halophilic organisms. Also, apart from single-culture utilization, dual systems of various organisms and associated developments have been discussed, which are considered potential future targets for economical hydrogen production. Additionally, an indirect contribution towards hydrogen production has been reviewed for associated species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Clostridium
  • Dual systems
  • Enterobacter
  • Escherichia coli
  • Hydrogen
  • Metabolic engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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