Biochemists Demonstrate Light-Based Conversion of Greenhouse Gas to Fuel

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The biochemists from Utah State University, Lance Seefeldt, and Derek Harris are a constituent of the seven-institution, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Energy Frontier Research Centre Program – sponsored Centre for Electron and Biological Catalysis and Transfer collaboration. The multi-insulation group created methane from carbon dioxide in single enzymatic step.

Although, it is a small step, but actually, it means a lot and hence can be considered as a big step,” says USU lecturer Lance Seefledt. “Think of the far-reaching advantages of the large-scale capture of environmentally refraining by-products from burning fossil fuels and transforming them to substituting fuels employing light, which is clean and abundant.”

Figure 1: Researchers have found conversion of Green house gas to fuel

USU and Seefeldt doctoral students Sudipta Shaw, Zhi-Yong Yang and Derek Harris, along with the associates Yanning Zheng, Caroline Harwood and Kathryn Fixen of the Washington University and Dennis Dean of Virginia Tech  reports. The workings of the team are supported by a grant awarded via the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Energy Frontier Research Centre program to the Centre for Electron and Biological Catalysis and Transfer of ‘BETCy.’ headquartered at Montana State University, BETCy is a seven-instituion association, where USU is also a partner.

To our expertise, no other organism can accomplish what this bacterium has made with a sole enzyme,” says Seefeldt, lecturer in Department of USU of Biochemistry and Chemistry and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.

‘Diminishing’ or breaking apart, carbon dioxide molecules need a vast amount of energy, he confirms, because carbon dioxide is highly stable. Here the group describes a biocatalyst potential of generating the energy-rich hydrocarbon by reducing carbon-dioxide with the use of a remodelled substance. Development of such a biocatalyst needed collection of an adequate microbial host, as larger amounts of cellular reductant and ATP, are utilized by nitrogenase and as a result, such energetically expensive enzyme is supressed by both post-transitional and transcriptional regulatory elements when an alternative nitrogen source, such as ammonium is available.

Using nitrogenase to prepare a product not utilized by the organism would need combating such regulatory restrictions to accomplish a product to accomplish expressive of enzymes, while as the same time offering cells with ammonium for growth. We supported that the anoxygenic photosynthetic bacterium would be a better chassis for investigating the remodelled nitrogenase in the relation of a biological system, as it can fix nitrogen, and an activating mutation, encoding the transcription activator.

Conclusion – “Now the use of phototrophs has opened up a novel world of excellent opportunities,” says Seefeldt, who gained USU’s D. Wyne Thorne Career Research Award a couple of years back. “Such types of bacteria are very active and can be used for preparing not just fuel, but also all types of substances we use in everyday life, without employing any sort of harmful energy sources. The future of this study seems to be incredible.”