Hydrogen bioproduction from agro-industrial residues by Enterobacter aerogenes in a continuous packed column has been investigated and a complete reactor characterization is presented. Experimental runs carried out at different residence time, liable of interest for industrial application, showed hydrogen yields ranging from 1.36 to 3.02 mmolH2mmol ÿ1 glucose or, in other words, from 37.5% to 75% of the theoretical hydrogen yield. A simple kinetic model of cell growth, validated by experimental results and allowing the prediction of biomass concentration pro®le along the reactor and the optimization of super®cial velocity, is suggested. By applying the developed approach to the selected operative conditions, the identi®cation of the optimum super®cial velocity v0,opt of about 2.2 cm h)1 corresponding to the maximum hydrogen evolution rate _H2g;max, was performed.
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