Biofilm Formation by a Metabolically Versatile Bacterium
Final rept. 15 Apr 2005-14 Nov 2008
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE OFFICE OF SPONSORED PROGRAMS
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Rhodopseudomonas palustris is a photosynthetic bacterium that has good potential as a biocatalyst for the production of hydrogen gas, a biofuel. With this award we conducted basic studies to facilitate the development of a process where R. palustris cells grown on surfaces as biofilms, produce hydrogen gas using energy from the sun and electrons from agricultural waste. We characterized five new Rhodopseudomonas genome sequences and isolated and described R. palustris mutant strains that produce hydrogen constitutively at all times. We published papers describing features of biodegradation and photosynthesis that impinge on hydrogen production. In addition, we characterized hydrogen production by R. palustris biofilms. Taking a new direction, we unexpectedly found that the plant-derived carbon compound, p-coumarate is used by R. palustris to synthesize a novel chemical language of cell-to-cell communication in the form p-coumaryl-homoserine lactone. This language may not only allow Rhodopseudomonas cells to communicate with each other, but it may also be important for communication between bacteria and plants.
- Inorganic Chemistry