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Researchers at Osaka City University discover metal ions as key component in exploring the use of CO2 as a raw material through artificial photosynthesis.

Published on Sep 29, 2020

Research

 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are rising and our planet is heating up. What do we do? What if we used this excess CO2 as a raw material to produce things we need - similar to how plants use it to produce oxygen.

This is one thing artificial photosynthesis has set out to do.

Artificial photosynthesis is a chemical process that mimics the natural process of photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into useful things like carbohydrates and oxygen. The problem is that current technologies can only produce molecules with 1 carbon atom. These molecules are too weak to be used for the production of more complex materials. Standard experimental conditions have not been stable enough to allow for molecules with bonds of more than one carbon atom to form.

New research at Osaka City University has found that simply adding metal ions like aluminum and iron was enough to allow the production of malic acid, which contains 4 carbon atoms. The study appeared recently online in the "New Journal of Chemistry" published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Comparison of malate production rates from CO2 and pyruvate with and without aluminum ions
The apparent rates for the ME-catalyzed malate (v0) under the condition of NADPH, pyruvate, sodium bicarbonate and ME containing aluminium ions (red).

 

“I was surprised that the solution was found in such a common thing as aluminum ions” said lead author Takeyuki Katagiri.

“Our goal is to create groups of molecules with as many as 100 carbon atoms” added supporting author Yutaka Amao. “Then we can finally explore possibilities of using CO2 as a raw material.”

Publication information

Paper title :  "Trivalent metal ion promotes malic enzyme-catalyzed building carbon-carbon bonds from CO2 and pyruvate "

Journal : 24 Aug 2020 in New Journal of Chemistry (Royal Society of Chemisty)

Authors :

Takeyuki Katagiri, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University

Yutaka Amao, Research Centre of Artificial Photosynthesis (ReCAP), Osaka City University

DOI : 10.1039/D0NJ03449E

Funding

Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, International Accelerating Fund for Joint Research (Strengthening International Joint Research (B)

Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, New Academic Area Research  

Grant-in-Aid for Research Fellowship, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

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