In this Nature paper, the researchers extracted the enzyme responsible for using atmospheric hydrogen from a bacterium called Mycobacterium smegmatis. They showed that this enzyme, called Huc, turns hydrogen gas into an electrical current. Dr. Grinter notes, “Huc is extraordinarily efficient. Unlike all other known enzymes and chemical catalysts, it even consumes hydrogen below atmospheric levels—as little as 0.00005% of the air we breathe.”
- Biotech for the win (?)
- Or does this pave the way for a dystopian post-biology future in which insatiable human appetites deplete all hydrogen from the atmosphere?
- Mycobacterium smegmatis becoming the savior of humanity and a household name would provide fodder for middle school humor for generations to come.