New Synthetic Photosynthesis Captures CO2 Faster Than Plants

  • iReviews
  • November 23,2016
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According to a recent Futurism article, “the background level of C02 in the atmosphere is about 400 parts per million, and human emissions within the past year add up to three parts per million to that total.” Whether the instrument to eradicate harmful CO2 emissions comes from our natural resources or from technological innovation, the problem remains.

 

As we all know, Photosynthesis uses solar energy to turn carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. With more than 20% of our rainforests depleted and urban pollution at an all-time high, relying on our planet’s resources has taken a backseat to technological innovation. Whether it’s Smog Free Towers strategically placed in polluted cities throughout China or innovative in-home Air Purifiers, like Molekule, groundbreaking devices are a surefire sign that our world needs science and technology more than ever to combat harmful CO2 emissions. What would be even more effective: a strategy around rejuvenating earth’s natural sustainability.

 

Thankfully, a team of researchers discovered a “synthetic pathway that converts CO2 into organic compounds faster than plants.” Carefully selecting 17 enzymatic compounds from nine organisms, researchers led by Thomas Schwander, created a synthetic pathway that converts CO2 into organic molecules. According to a recent article in Science, “the high-resolution mass spectrometry showed Vitro that the new pathway could capture C02 at a rate faster than the natural Calvin Cycle in plants.” The abstract from the study revealed the following:

“The pathway is up to five times more efficient than the in vivo rates of the most common natural carbon fixation pathway. Further optimization of this and other metabolic pathways by using similar approaches may lead to a host of biotechnological applications.”

 

With better CO2 processing comes a way to regulate the volatility of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere. The only thing left to do is incorporate the discovery into living organisms. According to a Nov. 17th Futurism article, “Once the tech is successfully transplanted into living plants, we would be in for faster, less energy-intensive CO2 fixation.”

 

From carbon-based feeding systems for cattle to engineering eco-friendly chemical products, the applications are widespread and the impact – almost immediate.