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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Azotobacter vinelandii as bio-factories for producing hydrogen 

Lead Researcher: 
Juan Imperial Ródenas

Research Centre:
Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. (Spain).


Juan ImperialBiological systems produce hydrogen through specific metalloenzymes called hydrogenases. Hydrogen biomanufacturing is a primitive characteristic that emerged in anaerobic atmospheres, and the activity and integrity of hydrogenases are sensitive to the presence of oxygen, thus hindering their use for hydrogen production. Azotobacter vinelandii is a strict aerobic bacterium that has developed molecular adaptations that allow it to be expressed in anaerobic biochemical systems, such as nitrogen fixation, in the presence of air. The main goal of this project is to use bacteria as a host for heterologous aerobic expression of the hydrogen-producing hydrogenases most commonly used for hydrogen bioproduction (Chlamydomonas, Clostridium etc.), and as a model for further improvement or modification of such systems.

Juan Imperial Ródenas

Research Professor at the CSIC, carrying out his scientific activity at the Centre for Biotechnology and Plant Genomics, a joint centre run by the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the National Research Institute for Agriculture and Food Technology, where he is the Assistant Director. He has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Barcelona, where he also earned his first degree. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison and the U. of Barcelona, and as a scientist for the CSIC at the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Biology in Madrid, the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Palma de Mallorca, and at the School of Agricultural Engineering. His speciality is Microbiology, and in particular the biology of nitrogen fixation and diazotrophic micro-organisms, including symbiotic diazotrophs in legumes. His current research focuses on molecular biology of hydrogenases and other microaerobic and anaerobic systems, and the comparative genomics of rhizobia, with special emphasis on the determinants of rhizospheric competence and adaptation to the host plant.

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