New Delhi: In what could be seen as an effective way to reduce the challenges of two major concerns the world is battling—global warming and energy shortage, scientists have found a new way to recycle the greenhouse gas.
According to ANI, researchers have found out a key enzyme which is effective to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO), adapted for commercial applications like biofuel synthesis.
The above described study was published online in journal of Nature Chemical Biology. "Our observation that a bacterium can convert CO2 to CO opens up new avenues for biotechnological adaptation of this reaction into a process that effectively recycles the greenhouse gas into the starting material for biofuel synthesis. It will help us simultaneously combat two major challenges we face nowadays: global warming and energy shortages," said Yilin Hu, lead study author from the University of California in US as quoted by ANI.
The findings however, were surprising to the group of researchers working on it as nitrogenase was only previously believed to convert nitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3) within the bacterium under similar conditions.
They found out they could express the reductase component of the nitrogenase enzyme alone in the bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii and directly use this bacterium to convert CO2 to CO.
The intracellular environment of the bacterium was shown to favor the conversion of CO2 in a way that would be more applicable to the future development of strategies for large-scale production of CO.
The researchers knew that the intracellular environment of the bacterium - Azotobacter vinelandii - favours other reduction reactions, due in part to its well-known oxygen protection mechanisms and presence of physiological electron donors. But they were unsure if the intracellular environment would support the conversion of CO2 to CO.
They were excited to discover that the bacterium could reduce CO2 and release CO as a product, which makes it an attractive whole-cell system that could be explored further for new ways of recycling atmospheric CO2 into biofuels and other commercial chemical products.
These findings of Hu`s group establish the nitrogenase enzyme as a fascinating template for developing approaches to energy-efficient and environmental-friendly fuel production.
(With ANI inputs)