Rhodobacter sphaeroides O.U.001 is a purple non-sulfur bacterium producing hydrogen under photoheterotrophic conditions. Hydrogen is produced by Mo-nitrogenase enzyme and substantial amount of H-2 is reoxidized by a membrane-bound uptake hydrogenase in the wild type strain. To improve the hydrogen producing capacity of the cells, a suicide vector containing a gentamicin cassette in the hupSL genes was introduced into R. sphaeroiodes O.U.001 and the uptake hydrogenase genes were destroyed by site directed mutagenesis. The correct integration of the construct was confirmed by uptake hydrogenase activity measurement, PCR and subsequent sequence analysis. The wild type and the mutant cells showed similar growth patterns but the total volume of hydrogen gas evolved by the mutant was 20% higher than that of the wild type strain. This result demonstrated that the hydrogen produced by the nitrogenase was not consumed by uptake hydrogenase leading to higher hydrogen production. (c) 2008 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.