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Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

UPCOMING SEMINAR - Dr Chris Greening

Posted by on 1 March 2023 | Comments

12:00 Noon, Wednesday, 1 March
Room 208, 2nd Floor
Microbiology Building
720 Cumberland St


Professor Chris Greening
Monash University

‘Microbial oxidation of atmospheric trace gases: From enzymes to ecosystems’

Bacteria have an extraordinary capacity to persist in response to energy limitation.  Our research program has shown that the growth and survival of environmental and pathogenic bacteria depends on previously unrecognised metabolic flexibility.  During this seminar, I will detail the surprising finding that aerobic bacteria can ‘live on air’, i.e. scavenge atmospheric hydrogen and carbon monoxide as alternative energy sources.  This discovery was first made in the University of Otago through research focused on the model bacterium Mycobacterium smegmatis. I will first detail the genetic basis, physiological role, and transcriptional regulation of this process.  Subsequently, I will premiere the high-resolution structures of the extraordinarily high-affinity and oxygen-tolerant hydrogenase (in press, Nature) and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase that mediate this process. Finally, culture-based and culture-independent evidence will be provided that diverse soil, marine, and subsurface bacteria also meet their energy needs through this process. The wider ecological, biogeochemical, medical, and astrobiological implications of these findings will also be discussed.