Carol Chiu, 2017, Chemical and Biological Engineering

For summer 2015, I researched in the Morel lab on the benefits of the alternative nitrogenases over the Mo nitrogenase in a purple nonsulfur bacterium called Rhodopseudomonas palustris. Nitrogenase is the enzyme used for nitrogen fixation. R. palustris is special in that it can express three types of nitrogenase, Mo, V, and Fe. I discovered that the alternative nitrogenases grow better than the Mo nitrogenase in more reduced environments. The theory is that the alternative nitrogenases are better at getting rid of excess electrons during nitrogen fixation.