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It is well established that metabolic pathways in the fermentation of organic waste are primarily controlled by dissolved H2 concentrations, but there is no reported study that compares observed and predicted shifts in fermentation pathways induced by manipulating the dissolved H2 concentration. A perfusion system is presented that was developed to control dissolved H2 concentrations in the continuous fermentation of glucose by a culture highly enriched towards Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum (86 ± 9 % relative abundance) from an originally diverse consortia in the leachate of a laboratory digester fed with municipal solid waste. Media from a 2.5 L CSTR was drawn through sintered steel membrane filters to retain biomass, allowing vigorous sparging in a separate sparging chamber without cellular disruption. Through a combination of sparging and variations in glucose feeding rate from 0.8 to 0.2 g/L/d, a range of steady state fermentations were performed with dissolved H2 concentrations as low as an equivalent equilibrated H2 partial pressure of 3 kPa. Trends in product formation rates were simulated using a H2 regulation partitioning model. The model correctly predicted the direction of products redistribution in response to H2 concentration changes and the acetate and butyrate formations when H2 concentrations were less than 6 kPa. However, the model over‐estimated acetate, ethanol and butanol productions at the expense of butyrate production at higher H2 concentrations. The H2 yield at the lowest dissolved H2 concentration was 2.67 ± 0.08 mol H2/mol glucose, over 300 % higher than the yield achieved in a CSTR operated without sparging. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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