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Biochimie. 1978;60(3):245-60.

Nitrogen fixation and hydrogen metabolism in photosynthetic bacteria.


The photosynthetic bacteria are found in a wide range of specialized aquatic environments. These bacteria represent important members of the microbial community since they are capable of carrying out two of the most important processes on earth, namely, photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation, at the expense of solar energy. Since the discovery that these bacteria could fix atmospheric nitrogen, there has been an intensification of studies relating to both the biochemistry and physiology of this process. The practical importance of this field is emphasized by a consideration of the tremendous energy input required for the production of artificial nitrogenous fertilizer. The present communication aims to briefly review the current state of knowledge relating to certain aspects of nitrogen fixation by the photosynthetic bacteria. The topics that will be discussed include a general survey of the nitrogenase system in the various photosynthetic bacteria, the regulation of both nitrogenase biosynthesis and activity, recent advances in the genetics of the nitrogen fixing system, and the hydrogen cycle in these bacteria. In addition, a brief discussion of some of some of the possible practical applications provided by the photosynthetic bacteria will be presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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