Major Review Published on DOE Microbe


A major review on the systems biology of a key DOE environmental microbe, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, has just been published online by Nature Reviews Microbiology. Several years of coordinated research by the Shewanella Federation, an SC-funded, integrated, multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator team led by Jim Fredrickson of PNNL, is summarized on the biology of this microbe, a master of metabolism that can catabolize numerous carbon sources in the presence or absence of oxygen using a range of electron acceptors, including many metals that are contaminants at DOE sites. Ubiquitous among microbial communities from marine to soil environments, the Shewanellae are also important in carbon cycling. The genomes of over 20 Shewanellae strains have been sequenced at DOE’s sequencing facility, enabling systems-biology research approaches based on comparative genomics. These analyses are illuminating the ecophysiology (which genes correlate with which environments) of these bacteria and are suggesting ways to exploit their remarkable metabolic versatility toward DOE missions of waste cleanup, carbon sequestration, and, possibly, bioenergy generation.