From a Dangerous Waste to Functional Nanomaterials:

Bioremediation of Sour Crude Oil Waste using Cyanobacteria

Abstract

Accumulation of a hydrogen sulfide as a consequence of sulfur-containing “sour” oil refinement can be dangerous. H2S damages the drilling equipment and causes corrosion of transporting pipelines. We use Cyanobacteria as a chassis since the organism is autotrophic. We designed a Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 that expresses Sulfide Quinone Reductase (SQR) that catalyzes sulfide-dependent plastoquinone reduction in anaerobic conditions, while photosystem II stays inhibited due to sulfide being present. SQR converts Sulfide to elemental Sulfur which is stored in the bacteria and accumulates in the Biomass. The electron flow in this modified Photosynthetic Electron Transport Chain goes to a transgenic Hydrogenase making use of the existing anoxygenic conditions due to sulfide presence. The Biomass is finally converted to functional materials used for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells in accordance with a newly developed method in our laboratory.