Mechanisms for direct electron transfer (DIET) between Geobacter and Methanothrix: possible effects of quantum mechanics and the role of membrane proteins

Project Summary

This project aims to come up with a model that explains the mechanisms of how direct electron transfer (DIET) occurs via conductive materials between Methanotrix and Geobacter. Currently, the role of quantum mechanics in these processes, postulated due to their small length scales, is poorly understood. We hope to create a quantum mechanical model of the processes involved in DIET by analysing relevant literature and acquiring relevant data from a bioreacter of Geobacter lovleyi and Methanothrix concilii. In addition, we plan to investigate the structure of membrane proteins in Geobacter and Methanothrix and their role in DIET using computer simulations. Ideally this model will then be used to make predictions as to what conditions are required to maximise DIET, important for increasing efficiency of bioreactors and improving methods of energy production. A greater understanding of the roles of quantum mechanics in DIET could have important applications to biotechnology and medicine.