James Lee

James Lee
Old Dominion University | ODU · Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Doctor of Philosophy

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97
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (97)
Article
Full-text available
Transmembrane electrostatically localized protons (TELP) theory has been recently recognized as an important addition over the classic Mitchell’s chemiosmosis; thus, the proton motive force (pmf) is largely contributed from TELP near the membrane. As an extension to this theory, a novel phenomenon of mitochondrial thermotrophic function is now char...
Article
Full-text available
Through the research presented herein, it is quite clear that there are two thermodynamically distinct types (A and B) of energetic processes naturally occurring on Earth. Type A, such as glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle, apparently follows the second law well; Type B, as exemplified by the thermotrophic function with transmembrane elect...
Article
Employing the transmembrane electrostatic proton localization theory with a new membrane potential equation, neural resting and action potential is now much better understood as the voltage contributed by the localized protons/cations at a neural liquid- membrane interface. Accordingly, the neural resting/action potential is essentially a protonic/...
Article
Full-text available
This study employing the latest theory on transmembrane electrostatic proton localization has now, for the first time, consistently elucidated a decades-longstanding bioenergetic conundrum in alkalophilic bacteria and more importantly discovered an entirely new feature: isothermal environmental heat utilization by electrostatically localized proton...
Article
Full-text available
For decades, it was not entirely clear why mitochondria develop cristae? The work employing the transmembrane-electrostatic proton localization theory reported here has now provided a clear answer to this fundamental question. Surprisingly, the transmembrane-electrostatically localized proton concentration at a curved mitochondrial crista tip can b...
Article
A large increase in phosphorus (P) solubilization from hydroxyapatite using ozonized biochar has now been experimentally demonstrated here for the first time. Briefly, incubation of insoluble phosphate material hydroxyapatite with wet-ozonized biochar including its filtrate liquid for 2 days resulted in a much higher concentration of solubilized ph...
Article
Introduction Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP1 is a thermophilic strain of cyanobacteria that has an optimum growth at 57°C, and according to previous analysis by Yamaoka et al, T elongatus BP1 cannot survive at a temperature below 30°C. This suggests that the thermophilic property of this strain may be used as a natural biosafety feature to limit...
Article
Biochar cation exchange capacity (CEC) is a key property central to better retain soil nutrients and reduce fertilizer runoff. This paper reports a breakthrough progress in improving biochar CEC value by a factor of nearly 10 through biochar surface oxygenation by ozonization. The CEC value of the untreated biochar was measured to be anywhere betwe...
Article
Full-text available
In Mitchell's chemiosmotic theory, membrane potential Δ ψ was given as the electric potential difference across the membrane. However, its physical origin for membrane potential Δ ψ was not well explained. Using the Lee proton electrostatic localization model with a newly formulated equation for protonic motive force (pmf) that takes electros...
Article
Full-text available
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a natural process for an organism to transfer genetic material to another organism that is a completely different species, for example, from a blue-green alga to a non-photosynthetic bacterium. The phenomenon of HGT is not only of an interest to the science of molecular genetics and biology, but also to the biosafe...
Article
Synthetic biology with genetically engineered (GE) cyanobacteria has the potential to produce valuable products such as biofuels. However, it is also essential to assess the potential risks of synthetic biology technology before it can be widely used. In order to address key concerns posed by the application of synthetic biology to microorganisms,...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Biochar cation exchange capacity (CEC) is a key property that is central to biochar environmental applications including the retention of soil nutrients in soil amendment and removal of certain pollutants in water-filtration applications. Results: This study reports an innovative biochar-ozonization process that dramatically increases t...
Article
Full-text available
Background Application of modern biomass pyrolysis methods for production of biofuels and biochar is potentially a significant approach to enable global carbon capture and sequestration. To realize this potential, it is essential to develop methods that produce biochar with the characteristics needed for effective soil amendment.
Article
Full-text available
After the publication of this work (Lee et al. 2016), the authors noticed that this manuscript was published with an incomplete author list. The co-author Sokwon Paik has now been added to the author list. The new Competing interests, Authors’ contributions and Acknowledgements sections are given below:
Article
In this study, tolerance of the blue green algal strain _Spirulina platensis_ (_Spirulina_) to biofuel ethanol was investigated by monitoring algal growth, measuring respiration, photosynthetic O2 production and chlorophyll fluorescence induction with varying ethanol concentrations. Algal growth monitoring showed a dose dependent inhibitory effect...
Article
During biochar production, a number of pyrolysis intermediates recondense on the surface of biochar where potentially they may play an interesting role in soil and freshwater environments. This study investigated the sources of biochar water-soluble organic compounds (WSOC) as a function of biomass materials including cellulose and lignin and also...
Article
Biochar was produced from pinewood biomass by pyrolysis at a highest treatment temperature (HTT) of 400 °C. This biochar was then treated with varying concentrations of H2O2 solution (1, 3, 10, 20, 30% w/w) for a partial oxygenation study. The biochar samples, both treated and untreated, were then tested with a cation exchange capacity (CEC) assay,...
Article
The widespread Mitchellian proton motive force equation has recently been revised with the proton-electrostatics localization hypothesis, which, for the first time, successfully elucidates the 30-year longstanding energetic conundrum of ATP synthesis in alkalophilic bacteria. To demonstrate the fundamental behavior of localized protons in a pure wa...
Article
Biochars were produced from pinewood, peanut shell, and bamboo biomass through hydrothermal conversion (HTC) at 300 (°)C and comparatively by slow pyrolysis over a temperature range of 300, 400, and 500 (°)C. These biochars were characterized by FT-IR, cation exchange capacity (CEC) assay, methylene blue adsorption, as well as proximate and element...
Article
Biochar generated from pinewood via slow pyrolysis was studied for its viability as a soil amendment as well as for its absorptive capacity for Mg, Ca, Cr, and Pb in solution. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) measurements showed that the biochar sample has a CEC of roughly double that of the reference soil sample. A high CEC value indicates that not...
Patent
A process for enhanced photobiological H2 production using transgenic alga. The process includes inducing exogenous genes in a transgenic alga by manipulating selected environmental factors. In one embodiment inducing production of an exogenous gene uncouples H2 production from existing mechanisms that would downregulate H2 production in the absenc...
Article
Biochar has gained significant interest worldwide for its potential use as both a carbon sequestration technique and soil amendment. Recently, research has shown that pinewood-derived biochar water extracts inhibited the growth of aquatic photosynthetic microorganisms, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic algae, while chicken litter- and peanut shell-de...
Article
This chapter reports a technological concept for producing a partially oxygenated biochar material that possesses enhanced cation-exchanging property by reaction of a biochar source with one or more oxygenating compounds in such a manner that the biochar material homogeneously acquires oxygen-containing cation-exchanging groups. This concept is bas...
Chapter
Use of biochar fertilizer is potentially an attractive approach for soil amendment and carbon sequestration possibly at giga tons of carbon (GtC) scale. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) is an important parameter in retaining inorganic nutrients, such as K+ and NH 4+ in soil. This experimental study showed that the CEC value of biochar is related to t...
Chapter
This chapter reports two inventions: designer proton-channel algae (US Patent No. 7,932,437 B2) and designer switchable photosystem-II algae (US Patent No. 7,642,405 B2), for more efficient and robust photobiological production of hydrogen (H2) from water. Use of these inventions could eliminate the following six technical problems that severely li...
Chapter
Smokeless (emission-free, clean, and efficient) biomass pyrolysis for biochar and biofuel production is a possible arsenal for global carbon capture and sequestration at gigatons of carbon (GtC) scales. The worlds annual unused waste biomass, such as crop stovers, is about 3.3 GtC y1. If this amount of biomass (3.3 GtC y1) is processed through the...
Chapter
The field of advanced biofuels and bioproducts may play an increasingly significant role in providing renewable energy and ensuring environmental health for a sustainable future of human civilization on Earth. This chapter as an introduction for the book provides a quick overview of advanced biofuels and bioproducts by highlighting the new developm...
Chapter
This chapter presents an invention on creating biosafety-guarded designer photosynthetic organisms for photobiological production of butanol and related higher alcohols. The designer photosynthetic organisms are created such that the endogenous photobiological regulation mechanism is tamed, and the reducing power (NADPH) and energy (ATP) acquired f...
Article
Application of biochar as a soil amendment could be a significant approach for carbon sequestration to possibly control climate change for energy and environmental sustainability. However, more studies are needed in a number of research areas, including the development of clean biochar materials free of any harmful substances, before this approach...
Patent
The present invention provides a revolutionary photosynthetic ethanol production technology based on designer transgenic plants, algae, or plant cells. The designer plants, designer algae, and designer plant cells are created such that the endogenous photosynthesis regulation mechanism is tamed, and the reducing power (NADPH) and energy (ATP) acqui...
Patent
A designer proton-channel transgenic alga for photobiological hydrogen production that is specifically designed for production of molecular hydrogen (H.sub.2) through photosynthetic water splitting. The designer transgenic alga includes proton-conductive channels that are expressed to produce such uncoupler proteins in an amount sufficient to incre...
Article
Smokeless biomass pyrolysis for biochar and biofuel production is a possible arsenal for global carbon capture and sequestration at gigatons of carbon (GtC) scales. The United States can annually harvest over 1.3 Gt (gigaton) of dry biomass. Use of the smokeless (clean and efficient) biomass-pyrolysis technology would enable the United States to co...
Article
Through cation exchange capacity assay, nitrogen adsorption-desorption surface area measurements, scanning electron microscopic imaging, infrared spectra and elemental analyses, we characterized biochar materials produced from cornstover under two different pyrolysis conditions, fast pyrolysis at 450 °C and gasification at 700 °C. Our experimental...
Patent
A switchable photosystem-II designer algae for photobiological hydrogen production. The designer transgenic algae includes at least two transgenes for enhanced photobiological H.sub.2 production wherein a first transgene serves as a genetic switch that can controls photosystem II (PSII) oxygen evolution and a second transgene encodes for creation o...
Article
We present and discuss two concepts for rapid DNA sequencing by direct nanoscale reading of nucleotide bases on individual DNA molecules. Although these two concepts are based on substantially different principles, they both rely on the fabrication of nanoscale devices using state of the art technologies. The first method, which has been recently i...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to investigate the translocation of single-strand DNA through nanoscale electrode gaps under the action of a constant driving force. The application behind this theoretical study is a proposal to use nanoelectrodes as a screening gap as part of a rapid genomic sequencing device. Preliminary results from...
Article
A systematic nanoelectrode-gated electron-tunneling molecular-detection concept with potential for rapid DNA sequencing has recently been invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). A DNA molecule is a polymer that typically contains four different types of nucleotide bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C) on its phosp...
Article
The objective of this project was to investigate and demonstrate production methods at a continuous, bench-scale level and generate sufficient material for an initial evaluation of a potentially profitable method of producing bioenergy and sequestering carbon. The novel process uses agricultural, forestry, and waste biomass to produce hydrogen usin...
Article
A method of imaging nanometer metallocatalysts formed by photosynthetic precipitation of the water-soluble transition-metal compounds [PtCl(6)](2-) and [RuCl(6)](2-) is reported. Hexachloroplatinate and hexachlororuthenate can accept up to four electrons from Photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers in photosynthetic thylakoid membranes, thereby conver...
Article
Photosynthetic reaction centers are molecular photovoltaic structures that are of significant interest in the field of nanoscale science and technology. We report here the results of an extensive experimental survey and characterization of over 20 species of transition-metal compounds for their activity in the Hill reaction at the lipid−water inter...
Article
An experimental approach that directly measures light-induced electrostatic surface potentials at the gas−liquid interface using the combined techniques of the atomic force microscope and the scanning surface-potential microscope is presented. Photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers, one of the molecular photovoltaic structures of green plants, conver...
Article
The increasing anthropogenic CO2 emission and global warming (thus climate change) have challenged the United States and other countries to find new and better ways to meet the world’s increasing needs for energy while reducing greenhouse gases emissions. Here, we present a practical and revolutionary method that can sequester greenhouse gas emissi...
Article
We have discovered a new competitive pathway for O2 sensitivity in algal H2 production that is distinct from the O2 sensitivity of hydrogenase per se. This O2 sensitivity is apparently linked to the photosynthetic H2 production pathway that is coupled to proton translocation across the thylakoid membrane. Addition of the proton uncoupler carbonyl c...
Book
In Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals: The Twenty-Fourth Symposium, leading US and international researchers from academia, industry, and government present state-of-the-art research on how biotechnology is being used to produce high-volume, low-price products from renewable resources, as well as to improve the environment. The focus of this sym...
Article
The increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions and possible global warming have challenged the United States and other countries to find new and better ways to meet the world's increasing needs for energy while, at the same time, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This study explores the possibility of using ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3) formation by...
Article
Full-text available
At elevated light intensities (greater than approximately 200 microE/[m2 x s]), the kinetic imbalance between the rate of photon excitation and thermally activated electron transport results in saturation of the rate of photosynthesis. Since maximum terrestrial solar radiation can reach 200 microE/(m2 x s), a significant opportunity exists to impro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Using the technique of Kelvin force microscopy, we have performed the first measurements of photovoltages from single photosynthetic reaction centers. The measured values, typically 1 V or more, are sufficiently large to trigger a neural response. The goal of this project is insertion of purified Photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers or other photoa...
Conference Paper
Using the technique of Kelvin force microscopy, we have performed the first measurements of photovoltages from single photosynthetic reaction centers. The measured values, typically 1 V or more, are sufficiently large to trigger a neural response. The goal of the project is insertion of purified Photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers or other photoac...
Patent
A method of nanometer-scale deposition of a metal onto a nanostructure includes the steps of: providing a substrate having thereon at least two electrically conductive nanostructures spaced no more than about 50 .mu.m apart; and depositing metal on at least one of the nanostructures by electric field-directed, programmable, pulsed electrolytic meta...
Patent
Industrial combustion facilities are integrated with greenhouse gas-solidifying fertilizer production reactions so that CO.sub.2, CO, NO.sub.x, and SO.sub.x emissions can be converted prior to emission into carbonate-containing fertilizers, mainly NH.sub.4 HCO.sub.3 and/or (NH.sub.2).sub.2 CO, plus a small fraction of NH.sub.4 NO.sub.3 and (NH.sub....
Article
Full-text available
A study of the photocatalytic production of molecular hydrogen from platinized photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers is reported. At pH 7 and room temperature metallic platinum was photoprecipitated at the reducing end of PSI according to the reaction, [PtCl6]2- + 4e- + hv-->Pt decreases + 6Cl-, where it interacted with photogenerated PSI electrons...
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACTA study of the photocatalytic production of molecular hydrogen from platinized photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers is reported. At pH 7 and room temperature metallic platinum was photoprecipitated at the reducing end of PSI according to the reaction, [PtCl6]2−+ 4e−+hν→ Pt↓+ 6Cl−, where it interacted with photogenerated PSI electrons and ca...
Article
Simultaneous photoevolution of hydrogen and oxygen by an aqueous suspension of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was measured in a confined bioreactor. The headspace above the liquid was about three times the volume of the liquid. The objective of the experiments was to determine the extent to which Henry's Law partitioning betwe...
Article
This presentation provides an overview and recent progress in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory research program in molecular electronics and green plant photosynthesis. The photosynthetic reaction center is a nanoscale molecular diode and photovoltaic device. The key thrust of our research program is the construction of molecular electronic device...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Using the technique of Kelvin force microscopy, we have performed the first measurements of photovoltages from single photosynthetic reaction centers. The measured values, typically 1 V or more, are sufficiently large to trigger a neural response. The goal of this project is insertion of purified Photosystem I (PSI) reaction. centers or other photo...
Article
This article summarizes recent advances in the field of algal hydrogen production. Two fundamental approaches are being developed. One involves the temporal separation of the usually incompatible reactions of O(2) and H(2) production in green algae, and the second involves the use of classical genetics to increase the O(2) tolerance of the reversib...
Article
Photosystem I (PS I) reaction centers are nanometer-size robust supramolecular structures that can be isolated and purified from green plants. Using the technique of Kelvin force probe microscopy, we report here the first measurement of exogenous photovoltages generated from single PS I reaction centers in a heterostructure composed of PS I, organo...
Article
Our fabrication strategy of molecular electronics is to make nanostructures on Si substrate and to utilize chemical treatment to promote the self-assembly of photosystem I reaction centers (PSI) into useful circuit. PSIs are robust molecules that can be isolated and purified from green plants. Using the technique of Kelvin force microscopy, we have...
Conference Paper
This paper will present our measurements of the electrical and optical properties of isolated Photosystem I (PSI) molecules and then show the results of our attempts to produce “bulk devices” which incorporate a large number of PSI molecules into an optically-sensitive test structure. Finally, we will present our strategies for incorporating the PS...
Chapter
An overview of photosynthetic hydrogen and oxygen production by green algae in the context of its potential as a renewable chemical feedstock and energy carrier is presented. Beginning with its discovery by Gaffron and Rubin in 1942, then motivated by curiosity-driven laboratory research, studies were initiated in the early 1970s that focused on ph...
Article
We report the results of an extensive experimental survey and characterization of over 20 species of transition-metal compounds for their activity in the Hill reaction and photoprecipitation of metal at the lipid−water interface of photosynthetic thylakoid membranes. Four new Hill reagents were identified:  PtCl4, OsCl3, [RuCl6]2-, and [RuCl6]3-. E...
Article
This mission-oriented research project is focused on the production of renewable hydrogen. The authors have demonstrated that certain unicellular green algae are capable of sustained simultaneous photoproduction of hydrogen and oxygen by light-activated photosynthetic water splitting. It is the goal of this project to develop a practical chemical e...
Article
Two-dimensional vectorial arrays of functional Photosystem I reaction centers have been prepared on atomically flat derivatized gold surfaces. The nature and extent of orientation were controlled by chemical modification of the surface derivative. For mercaptoacetic acid, 83% of the electron transport vectors were parallel to the surface, whereas w...
Article
Present energy systems are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. This will eventually lead to the foreseeable depletion of fossil energy resources and, according to some reports, global climate changes due to the emission of carbon dioxide. In principle, hydrogen production by biophotolysis of water can be an ideal solar energy conversion system for s...
Article
Photosystem I (PSI) reaction centre core antenna complexes containing about 40 chlorophylls per P700 (PSI-40) are 6 nm biological photovoltaic device. PSI particles carry positively-charged domain(s) and can therefore interact electrostatically with a negatively-charged surface. PSI particles were platinized by reduction of [PtCl6]−2 at neutral pH...
Article
Contrary to the prediction of the Z-scheme model of photosynthesis, experiments demonstrated that mutants of Chlamydomonas containing photosystem II (PSII) but lacking photosystem I (PSI) can grow photoautotrophically with O2 evolution, using atmospheric CO2 as the sole carbon source. Autotrophic photosynthesis by PSI-deficient mutants was stable b...
Article
Isolated photosystem I (PSI) reaction center/core antenna complexes (PSI-40) were platinized by reduction of [PtCl6]2- at 20 degrees C and neutral pH. PSI particles were visualized directly on a gold surface by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) before and after platinization. STM results showed that PSI particles were monomeric and roughly ellips...
Article
By inserting metallocatalysts (such as platinum, osmium, or ruthenium) at the reducing site of photosystem I (PSI), electrons that emerge from PSI can be channeled to various redox reactions that could potentially produce fuels and chemicals (such as H2 and CH4, and so forth) instead of NADP+ reduction, as in natural photosynthesis. We have recentl...
Article
ALTHOUGH mutant B4 of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii lacks photo-system I (PS I), it is capable of photoautotrophic assimilation of atmospheric carbon dioxide and sustained simultaneous photo-evolution of molecular oxygen and hydrogen. Here we report that at saturating light intensities, carbon dioxide reduction is stable under anaerobiosis but unstable...
Article
Thylakoids and photosystem I (PSI) reaction centers were imaged by scanning tunneling microscopy. The thylakoids were isolated from spinach chloroplasts, and PSI reaction centers were extracted from thylakoid membranes. Because thylakoids are relatively thick nonconductors, they were sputter-coated with Pd/Au before imaging. PSI photosynthetic cent...
Article
Photosynthetic water splitting for hydrogen and oxygen production is a promising biological process that converts sunlight into useful chemical energy. In green algae, this process becomes active when hydrogenase is induced. In this process, water is split into molecular oxygen, protons, and electrons by photosystem II (PSII). The electrons acquire...
Article
Using the technique of in situ photoprecipitation, a comparative study of the structurally homologous ionic species hexachloroplatinate ([PtCl6]2-), hexachloroosmiate ([OsCl6]2-), and hexachloroiridates ([IrCl6]2- and [IrCl6]3-) was conducted for photoconversion to metallocatalysts for photosynthetic hydrogen evolution. As with earlier [PtCl6]2- st...
Article
We present an investigation of the effects of 5-hydroxy naphthoquinone (5-OH-NQ) on fluorescence and photochemical yield in detergent-isolated photosystem I (PS I) core antenna complexes using the Stern-Volmer analysis. The primary effects of 5-OH-NQ are to quench excited antenna chlorophylls and to decrease the effective rate of electron transport...
Article
Full-text available
To interpret the metabolism of radiolabeled gibberellins A(12)-aldehyde and A(12) in shoots of pea (Pisum sativum L.), the identity of the radiolabeled peaks has to be determined and the endogenous presence of the gibberellins demonstrated. High specific activity [(14)C]GA(12) and [(14)C]GA(12)-aldehyde were synthesized using a pumpkin endosperm en...