My current research focuses on understanding how isoprene is consumed by microbes in the environment. Isoprene is a volatile organic compound produced predominately by plants. Once released in to the atmosphere it is highly reactive and can take part in numerous process that have implications for both air quality and the climate. Although isoprene is produced in large quantities little is known about the role of microbes in its degradation.
The aim of my work is to gain greater understanding of how microbes can utilise isoprene as a growth substrate by characterising the proteins involved in its metabolism. This will be done by carrying out at range of biochemical techniques using whole cells and purified proteins.
My previous research has focused on redox active proteins involved in microbial respiration. This has mainly been focused on understanding electron transfer and catalysis in key enzymes in the microbial iron and nitrogen cycles. I have used a range of techniques including protein film electrochemistry (PFE), spectroscopy and protein crystallography to allow for the exploration of microbial metabolism in E.coli and Shewanella oneidensis.
European Research Council Advanced Grant to Prof Colin Murrell