Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Description & Signifigance
Rhodopseudomonas bacteria are purple nonsulfur phototrophic organisms that can be found in many types of marine environments and soils. It converts sunlight into energy and converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into biomass. R. palustris has the potential to be very useful because it can degrade and recycle several different aromatic compounds that make-up lignin, the "main constituent of wood and the second most abundant polymer on earth" (DOE). Thus, this bacteria and those like it may be useful in removing these types of waste from the environment. In addition, R. palustris converts N2 into NH4 and H2, which can be used as a biofuel.
Rhodopseudomonas palustris, whose genome has been sequenced by the DOE Joint Genome Institute, has a certain genetic system that allows genes to be moved in and out of the bacterium easily. This allows researchers to target certain genes for mutagenesis and "rapidly apply information gained from genome sequencing to the developing area of functional genomics" (DOE). The genome, which is 5.46 Mb in length and is comprised of 4,836 predicted genes (its plasmid being 8,427 bp), encodes for proteins involved in a versatile and flexible metabolism as well as a cellular differentiation and a budding reproduction. It is similar to the genome of Bradyrhizobium japonicum including many homologous genes, such as terminal oxidase genes.