Navigation Links
What green algae are up to in the dark
Date:2/14/2013

How green algae produce hydrogen in the dark is reported by biologists at the Ruhr-Universitt Bochum in the "Journal of Biological Chemistry". Hereby, they have uncovered a mechanism for the production of the gas which has hardly been examined before; usually, researchers are interested in light-driven hydrogen synthesis. "Hydrogen could help us out of the energy crisis", says Prof. Dr. Thomas Happe, head of the working group Photobiotechnology. "If you want to make green algae produce more hydrogen, it is important to understand all the production pathways."

Green algae produce hydrogen under stress - even in the dark

Single-celled green algae of the type Chlamydomonas are microscopically small organisms: ten of them fit side by side on a human hair. In some ways, microalgae are not so very different from higher plants, such as trees. For example, they also perform photosynthesis. Unlike land plants, they can use light energy for the production of molecular hydrogen (H2). "However, Chlamydomonas and co only form hydrogen under stress", says Thomas Happe. "The disposal of the energy-rich gas serves as a kind of overflow valve so that excess light energy does not damage the sensitive photosynthetic apparatus." Chlamydomonas can also produce hydrogen in the dark. Although this fact has been known for decades, H2 synthesis in the absence of light has barely been studied because much less of the gas is produced in the dark than in the light. Moreover, it is complicated to isolate large quantities of the key enzyme of the dark-reaction, the so-called pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase. The RUB researchers nevertheless tackled the project.

Hydrogen production in the dark mimicked in vitro

Happe's team reconstructed the core of the dark hydrogen production in vitro, thus demonstrating the underlying mechanism. In order to get to the proteins involved, the researchers had these produced by bacteria. First they introduced the corresponding genes of the green algae into the gut bacterium Escherichia coli, for example, the gene for the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase. E. coli then produced the proteins according to this blueprint. Happe's team isolated them from the bacterial cells and examined them like a construction kit. In the test tube, the biologists analysed how different combinations of proteins interacted with each other under specific environmental conditions.

"Ancient enzyme" discovered

In so doing, they found out that, under stress in the dark, the algae switch to a metabolic pathway which is normally only found in bacteria or single-celled parasites. "Chlamydmonas has an evolutionarily ancient enzyme", explains Jens Noth from the working group Photobiotechnology. "With the help of vitamin B1 and iron atoms, it gains energy from the breakdown of sugars." This energy is then used by other green algal enzymes, the hydrogenases, to form hydrogen. The unicellular microalgae switch on this metabolic pathway when they suddenly encounter oxygen-free conditions in the dark. Because, like humans, the green algae need oxygen to breathe if they cannot draw their energy from sunlight. The formation of hydrogen in the dark helps the cells to survive these stress condition. "With this knowledge, we have now found another piece of the puzzle to get an accurate picture of H2 production in Chlamydomonas", says Thomas Happe. "In future, this could also help to increase the biotechnologically relevant light-dependent H2 formation rate."


'/>"/>
Contact: Prof. Dr. Thomas Happe
thomas.happe@rub.de
49-234-322-7026
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent, says U of T researcher
2. New guide will allow electric utilities to develop Green Button Web tools
3. Aarhus University builds research station in North Greenland
4. In beef production, cow-calf phase contributes most greenhouse gases
5. Analysis of Greenland ice cores adds to historical record and provide glimpse into climates future
6. Toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications
7. Ancient red dye powers new green battery
8. Rice cultivates green batteries from plant
9. Fire and ice: Wildfires darkening Greenland snowpack, increasing melting
10. Greenphire CEO Sam Whitaker speaks on Sunshine Act and Clinical Trial Payments
11. An energy conscious workforce: New research looks at how to encourage staff to go green
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   ... management and verification solutions, has partnered with ... software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks ... provides products that add functional enhancements to ... provides corporations and venues with an automated ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... British Columbia , June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... appointed to the new role of principal product ... been named the director of customer development. Both ... NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect NuData,s ... teams in response to high customer demand and ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion ... Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing ... applications are expected to drive the market growth. ... , The development of advanced multimodal ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 ... ... high precision light to control cells — optogenetics — is key to exciting ... state of the art, spatially patterned light projected via free-space optics stimulates small, ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Anaconda BioMed S.L., a ... of the next generation neuro-thrombectomy system for the treatment ... Tudor G. Jovin, MD to join its Scientific Advisory ... a strategic network of scientific and clinical experts to ... of the ANCD BRAIN ® to its clinical ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... This CAST literature review and report looks at problems ... on the economic effects in countries that are major global commodity exporters and importers, ... resultant risk of low level presence (LLP) puts large volumes of trade worth billions ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Savannah River ... technologies and selected NewTechBio,s NT-MAX Lake & ... based beneficial bacteria, in conjunction with Hexa Armor/ ... deficiencies with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements. ... experienced a steady history of elevated pH levels, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: