U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Expanded Role for Fixation of Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen in Photosynthetic Bacteria
Published: June 28, 2010
Posted: July 28, 2010

Primary productivity on Earth depends on the ability of plants and microbes to convert atmospheric CO2 and N2 into biologically useful forms. The enzymatic circuit known as the Calvin Cycle is responsible for the conversion of CO2 into cellular biomass of plants and photosynthetic microbes. Conversion of N2 to ammonia (i.e. nitrogen fixation) is mediated by nitrogenase, an enzyme possessed by only certain microbial species. A new report now shows that the Calvin Cycle and nitrogenase also play a critical role in maintaining the balance of oxidation and reductions processes during growth of Rhodopseudomanas palustris, a metabolically versatile bacterium that can grow in oxygen free environments using a combination of photosynthesis and consumption of organic acids produced by other fermentative microbes. This finding represents a significant advance in our understanding of central metabolic processes of a class of microbes that are both relevant to bioenergy applications and occupy a critical connective role in the global carbon cycle. The new publication is the Inaugural Article for Caroline S. Harwood of the University of Washington as a new member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Reference: J. B. McKinlay & C. S. Harwood. “Carbon Dioxide Fixation as a Central Redox Cofactor Recycling Mechanism in Bacteria” 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA). Published Online ahead of print: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/26/11669

Contact: Joseph Graber, SC-23.2, (301) 903-1239
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)