Researchers have discovered a new method of microbial energy production, called “flavin-based electron bifurcation” (FBEB).
This newly found method is actually an ancient form of energy generation and conservation but is so different from the known processes that it represents a paradigm shift in how scientists think about the way organisms obtain energy.
FBEB allows an organism to get more energy “bang for its buck,” and the key player is the unique flavin that enables the enzyme to perform energy conserving chemistry unlike any other that has been studied.
The research brings a new understanding of electron bifurcation and sets a model of the underlying mechanistic principles by which they function.
Until recently it was thought that in all of biology, from microbes to humans, there were only two methods to generate and conserve the energy required for cellular metabolism and survival.