Pin-Ching Maness is a Principal Scientist at NREL, where she has been employed since 1981. She received her M.S. degrees in Life Sciences from Indiana State University in 1976 and in Computer Information Systems from University of Denver in 2000. Her research interests are in the physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of microbes with applications in bioremediation and the production of H2 and high-value bio-based products. Her areas of research include isolation and development from nature microorganisms with respect to H2-production activity, purification and characterization of the hydrogenase and related proteins, and understanding the metabolic pathways responsible for H2 production.
Ms. Maness is a member of the Biological Sciences Team, which has identified and cloned 18 genes encoding the various enzymes and proteins involved in the biological water-gas shift reaction in a photosynthetic bacterium. Her research in syngas fermentation led to the development of two patented processes: the production of a biodegradable PHA thermoplastic and the production of single-cell protein as animal feed, both using syngas as the feedstock. While working with a purple non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium, she identified a novel O2 -tolerant hydrogenase unlike those reported in literature.
Her present research involves the genetic transfer of this O2-tolerant hydrogenase into a cyanobacterial host to produce H2 from water, in collaboration with the J. Craig Venter Institute. She is also developing the cellulolytic bacterium Clostridium thermocellum for H2 production via the fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass. Her team has demonstrated that H2 molar yield from lignocellulose is comparable to that of glucose, with the latter being more costly and less abundant as a feedstock.
Ms. Maness's most recent journal article, "Characterization of Genes Responsible for the CO-Linked Hydrogen-Production Pathway in Rubrivivax gelatinosus," was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Vol. 76, No. 11, 2010).
- Maness, P.C., J. Huang, S. Smolinski, V. Tek, and G. Vanzin (2005). "Energy generation from the CO oxidation-hydrogen production pathway in Rubrivivax gelatinosus." Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (71); pp. 2870-2874.
- Ghirardi, M.L., King, P.W., Posewitz, M.C., Maness, P.C., Fedorov, A., Kim, K., Cohen, J., Schulten, K., and Seibert, M. (2005). "Approaches to developing biological H(2)-photoproducing organisms and processes." Biochem Soc. Trans. (33); pp. 70-72.
- Merida, W., P.C. Maness, R.C. Brown, and D.B. Levin (2012). "Enhanced hydrogen production from indirectly heated, gasified biomass, and removal of carbon gas emission using a novel biological gas reformer." Int. J. Hydrogen Energy (29); pp. 283-290.
- Maness, P.C. and P.F. Weaver (2002). "Hydrogen production from a carbon-monoxide oxidation pathway in Rubrivivax gelatinosus." Intl. J. Hydrogen Energy (27); pp. 1407-1411.
- Maness, P.C., S. Smolinski, A. Dillon, M. Heben, and P.F. Weaver (2002). "Characterization of the oxygen tolerance of a hydrogenase linking to a carbon-monoxide oxidation pathway in Rubrivivax gelatinosus." Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (68); pp. 2633-2636.
- Wolfrum, E., J. Huang, D.M. Blake, P.C. Maness, and Z. Huang (2002). "Photocatalytic oxidation of bacteria, bacterial and fungal spores, and model biofilm components to carbon dioxide on titanium dioxide coated surfaces." Environ. Sci and Technol. (36); pp. 3412-3419.