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The working group deals with the basic questions of the biochemistry, genetic and biotechnology of photosynthetic microorganism. Microorganism that practice an oxygenic photosynthesis are able to metabolize hydrogen under certain conditions. At the end of the thirties, the German botanist Hans Gaffron discovered a hydrogen metabolism in green algae.

In cyanobacteria the development of hydrogen is strongly coupled to nitrogen fixation, while green algae that possess no nitrogenase produce hydrogen in mentionable amounts only under photosynthetic conditions. Interestingly, two different classes of H2-producing enzymes are found in cyanobacteria (NiFe-hydrogenases) and green algae (Fe-hydrogenases) which indicate a different phylogenetic origin. The enzymes that are involved in the hydrogen metabolism and nitrogen fixation are extremely oxygen sensitive so that the expression of the proteins takes place only under anaerobic conditions.

The aim of our research is to understand the coaction of different metabolic pathways (photosynthesis, sulphur metabolism, nitrogen fixation and hydrogen production) in the photosynthetic cyanobacteria and green algae.



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  • Prof. Dr. T. Happe
  • AG Photobiotechnology
    Ruhr-University Bochum
    building: ND room: 2/169
    Universitätsstrasse 150
    44801 Bochum
  • phone: +49 234-32 27026
    fax: +49 234-32 14322
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