Enhanced chloroplast-mitochondria crosstalk promotes ambient algal-H2 production

Tamar Elman, Thi Thu Hoai Ho, Yuval Milrad, Michael Hippler, Iftach Yacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microalgae are natural biocatalysts of hydrogen production. Their ability to convert solar energy to valuable compounds with minimal ecological footprint potentially places them as significant contributors to the clean-energy transition. Currently, algal hydrogen production, although promising, is not scalable because it is limited to oxygen-free conditions and is short-lived due to electron loss to other processes, mainly carbon fixation. Here, we show that a strain defective in thylakoid proton gradient regulation, Δpgr5, bypasses both challenges simultaneously, leading to a prolonged 12-day hydrogen production under ambient mixotrophic conditions in a 1-L setup. We report that Δpgr5 possess a repressed ability to fixate carbon and that this limitation is counterbalanced by an enhanced chloroplast-mitochondrion energetic exchange. This unique physiology supports the simplistic, yet robust and scalable, hydrogen production capability of Δpgr5.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100828
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2022


  • bioengineering
  • chlamydomonas
  • green algae
  • hydrogen
  • mitochondria-chloroplast interaction
  • photosynthesis


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