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For a sustainable future one challenge to scientists is to think of innovative and inspiring new ideas to generate energy, tackle waste and encourage recycling. The ability of microbes to produce hydrogen gas is widespread in nature and there is resurgent interest in biohydrogen as a clean and renewable energy source. There are recent reports that bacterial hydrogenase enzymes running in reverse could be used to capture carbon dioxide. The conversion of gaseous carbon dioxide to aqueous formic acid by engineered microbes may be one solution for the long term storage and management of waste carbon dioxide.

Frank Sargent is Professor of Microbial Biotechnology in the School of Natural & Environmental Sciences (SNES) at Newcastle University. Frank’s research focuses on molecular, genetic and applied aspects of the assembly, structure and function of bacterial metal-dependent enzymes. Current research projects are focused on bacterial hydrogen production and hydrogen-dependent carbon dioxide capture, and protein secretion pathways in bacteria.

Due to the current social distancing guidelines this installment of Café Scientifique will be hosted online Via Zoom. Please contact [email protected] for details of how to join the meeting.