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Peering down the sink: bacterial isoprene metabolism reviewed


Peering down the sink: bacterial isoprene metabolism reviewed

Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) is an unusual trace gas which is release into the atmosphere, mainly by trees, in huge amounts (>500 million tonnes per year). Chemical reactions of isoprene with other atmospheric compounds, such as hydroxyl radicals and inorganic nitrogen species (NOx) make isoprene a potent climate-active gas. During an ERC Advanced grant we have been investigating how bacteria grow on isoprene and help to mitigate climate effects due to its release into the atmosphere. The current state of knowledge on the global isoprene cycle is shown in the figure above. In a recent review in Environmental Microbiology, ELSA Lab members Robin Dawson, Andrew Crombie and Colin Murrell, together with collaborators from Radboud and Sheffield Hallam University, describe the use of a suite of molecular genetics and ‘omics approaches to elucidate the mechanisms and pathways of isoprene metabolism by bacteria. They review the current knowledge of isoprene metabolism, largely gathered through their ERC-funded project (2016-2022) and highlight key areas for further research on this fascinating and unusual group of microbes. For further details see:

Robin Dawson, Andrew Crombie, Robert Jansen, Thomas Smith, Tim Nichol, Colin Murrell (2022)

Peering down the sink: A review of isoprene metabolism by bacteria. Environmental Microbiology