There are microorganisms which catalyze the conversion of molecular hydrogen. According to the transition metal of their active sites, they have been classified as [NiFe]-, [FeFe]- or [Fe] hydrogenases.
The detailed investigation of the reaction mechanisms of these enzymes will lead to
- understanding of nature's design principles
- transformation of insight into biomimetic systems
- design and development of hydrogen fuel cells.
Current research areas are
- characterization of oxygen-tolerant hydrogenases
- combination of photosynthesis and hydrogenase for light-driven hydrogen production
- investigation of alternative hydrogen generating enzymes.