The Interplay of Proton, Electron, and Metabolite Supply for Photosynthetic H2 Production in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
To obtain a detailed picture of sulfur deprivation-induced H2 production in microalgae, metabolome analyses were performed during key time points of the anaerobic H2 production process of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Analyses were performed using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS), two-dimensional gas chromatography combined with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS), lipid and starch analysis, and enzymatic determination of fermentative products. The studies were designed to provide a detailed metabolite profile of the solar Bio-H2 production process. This work reports on the differential analysis of metabolic profiles of the high H2-producing strain Stm6Glc4 and the wild-type cc406 (WT) before and during the H2 production phase. Using GCxGC-TOFMS analysis the number of detected peaks increased from 128 peaks, previously detected by GC/MS techniques, to ∼1168. More detailed analysis of the anaerobic H2 production phase revealed remarkable differences between wild-type and mutant cells in a number of metabolic pathways. Under these physiological conditions the WT produced up to 2.6 times more fatty acids, 2.2 times more neutral lipids, and up to 4 times more fermentation products compared with Stm6Glc4. Based on these results, specific metabolic pathways involving the synthesis of fatty acids, neutral lipids, and fermentation products during anaerobiosis in C. reinhardtii have been identified as potential targets for metabolic engineering to further enhance substrate supply for the hydrogenase(s) in the chloroplast.