Formate and its role in hydrogen production in Escherichia coli

Biochem Soc Trans. 2005 Feb;33(Pt 1):42-6. doi: 10.1042/BST0330042.


The production of dihydrogen by Escherichia coli and other members of the Enterobacteriaceae is one of the classic features of mixed-acid fermentation. Synthesis of the multicomponent, membrane-associated FHL (formate hydrogenlyase) enzyme complex, which disproportionates formate into CO(2) and H(2), has an absolute requirement for formate. Formate, therefore, represents a signature molecule in the fermenting E. coli cell and factors that determine formate metabolism control FHL synthesis and consequently dihydrogen evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Formates / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen / metabolism*


  • Formates
  • formic acid
  • Hydrogen