What if the scientists will find something which helps us to fight against the two major and severe problems – global warming and energy shortage! Nothing can be better that that. Scientists found a new way to recycle the greenhouse gas.
The researchers found a key enzyme which can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO). It can be adapted for commercial applications like biofuel synthesis.
This research was published in the journal of Nature Chemical Biology.
The lead study author from the University of California in the US, Yilin Hu said, “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.”
They found 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 findings surprised the researchers as it was previously believed that nitrogenase converted nitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3) within the bacterium under similar conditions. The reductase component of the nitrogenase enzyme alone can be used in the bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii and directly use this bacterium to convert CO2 to CO.
The researchers are well known that intracellular environment of the bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii favours other reduction reaction due in part to its well-known oxygen protection mechanisms and presence of physiological electron donors. But they were not sure if the intracellular environment would support the conversion of CO2 to CO.
Hu and his group 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 establish the nitrogenase enzyme as a fascinating template for developing approaches to environment-friendly and energy-efficient fuel production.