An ANU team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel.
“Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely,” said Dr Kastoori Hingorani, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis in the ANU Research School of Biology.
Hydrogen offers potential as a zero-carbon replacement for petroleum products, and is already used for launching space craft. However, until this work, the way that plants produce hydrogen by splitting water has been poorly understood.
The team created a protein which, when exposed to light, displays the electrical heartbeat that is the key to photosynthesis.
The system uses a naturally-occurring protein and does not need batteries or expensive metals, meaning it could be affordable in developing countries, Dr Hingorani said.
Co-researcher Professor Ron Pace said the research opened up new possibilities for manufacturing hydrogen as a cheap and clean source of fuel.
“This is the first time we have replicated the primary capture of energy from sunlight,” Professor Pace said.
“It’s the beginning of a whole suite of possibilities, such as creating a highly efficient fuel, or to trapping atmospheric carbon.”
Professor Pace said large amounts of hydrogen fuel produced by artificial photosynthesis could transform the economy.
“That carbon-free cycle is essentially indefinitely sustainable. Sunlight is extraordinarily abundant, water is everywhere – the raw materials we need to make the fuel. And at the end of the usage cycle it goes back to water,” he said.
The team modified a much-researched and ubiquitous protein, Ferritin, which is present in almost all living organisms.
Ferritin’s usual role is to store iron, but the team removed the iron and replaced it with the abundant metal, manganese, to closely resemble the water splitting site in photosynthesis.
The protein also binds a haem group, which the researchers replaced with a light-sensitive pigment, Zinc Chlorin.
When they shone light onto the modified ferritin, there was a clear indication of charge transfer just like in natural photosynthesis.
The Latest on: Synthetic photosynthesis
via Google News
The Latest on: Synthetic photosynthesis
- DoE achieves breakthrough in artificial photosynthesison March 1, 2021 at 4:01 pm
“Artificial photosynthesis will enable the production of sustainable ... allow us to combine these chromophores and catalysts without the need of complicated synthetic procedures and with precise ...
- Carbon Dioxide: A $550-Billion Opportunityon February 24, 2021 at 3:05 pm
In addition to being an essential element for photosynthesis and as such an ... The other big growth market for CO2 utilization is synthetic fuels. Sadly, this growth market will take a while ...
- Biochemistry newson February 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Responsible for the green color of plants, the essential mechanisms for the emergence of photosynthesis have just been explored at the level of plant cells. Scientists from the Universities of ...
- Himadri Pakrasion February 10, 2021 at 11:41 am
Pakrasi conducts research in the broad areas of photosynthesis, systems biology and synthetic biology. He is deeply engaged in bridging research interests in physical and biological sciences.
- Pond scum plastics?on February 9, 2021 at 4:01 pm
Algae cells can contain up to 60% oil, and for photosynthesis they use carbon dioxide ... algae culture to replicate exponentially within a small footprint. “From synthetic clothing to oxygen masks ...
- Restoring soil carbon can reverse global warming, desertification and biodiversity losson February 7, 2021 at 6:01 pm
The immediacy is a result of using the natural biological process of photosynthesis — as the ... via the natural function known as the photo-synthetic process. To place approximately 27 tonnes ...
- examples of moleculeson February 7, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Biomolecules containing carbonyls tend to be volatile and stimulate senses with both pleasant and unpleasant odors. The most of 4 types of biomolecules are made from single subunits, or building ...
- Optogenetic manipulation of stomatal kinetics improves carbon assimilation, water use, and growthon February 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Strategies for reducing transpiration without incurring a cost for photosynthesis must circumvent this inherent coupling of carbon dioxide and water vapor diffusion. We expressed the synthetic, ...
- Synthetic glycolate metabolism pathways stimulate crop growth and productivity in the fieldon February 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Photosynthesis requires the carboxylation of ribulose ... and develops a robust canopy similar to that of other field crops. Using a synthetic biology approach to vary promoter gene combinations, we ...
- Op-Ed: Carbon Dioxide to Liquid Fuel: Is It Time to Make the Leap?on February 1, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Photosynthesis combines CO 2 from the atmosphere with water ... which Carbon Engineering plans to use to mix with hydrogen obtained from electrolysis of water to form synthetic gasoline. The company ...
via Bing News