Enzyme-based technologies for bioenergy and bioremediation: Hydrogenase and Reductive Dehalogenase

Dr Bat-Erdene Jugder
BABS Exit Seminar
17 November 2017 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Rountree Room 356, Level 3, Biological Sciences Building D26

This seminar will explore Bat’s UNSW research on two bacterial enzyme projects; firstly on a soluble hydrogenase with a view towards a bioenergy application and secondly on a reductive dehalogenase relevant to organohalide bioremediation. Hydrogenases are metalloenzymes that reversibly catalyse the oxidation or production of molecular hydrogen (H2). Because of this ability, these enzymes have potential as biocatalysts in emerging H2-based biofuel technologies. In the course of his MSc, Bat undertook a project where he studied a soluble hydrogenase from Ralstonia eutropha H16 and developed a bioprocess to produce and purify an active enzyme, carried out a full transcriptomic analysis and constructed the reporter fusion protein to design a simple screening assay to evaluate promoter activity. In the second part of his talk, he will summarise his PhD work working on a reductive dehalogenase project, where he investigated a chloroform (CF) reducing dehalogenase found in a strictly anaerobe, Dehalobacter UNSWDHB. Reductive dehalogenases are another group of fascinating metalloenzymes that play a key role in bioremediation of polychlorinated organic compounds that are recalcitrant environmental pollutants and, in many cases, human carcinogens. Bat carried out extensive “omics” studies to study the response of this Dehalobacter isolate to CF. Also, he developed a method to produce and purify the first enzyme that is capable of breaking down CF and further investigated its biochemical properties. Lastly but most importantly, in his project, he successfully heterologously expressed reductive dehalogenase in soluble and functionally active form, which is we believe the first time this has been achieved for an enzyme isolated from an obligate dehalorespirer.

Bat completed his Masters by Research (2011-2013) and PhD in biotechnology (2014-2017) on the “hydrogenase” and “reductive dehalogenase” projects respectively, in Associate Professor Chris Marquis’s lab at School of BABS, UNSW. He is going to start his new role as a postdoctoral research scholar at Harvard Medical School in Jan 2018.