Immobilization of Biomolecules (Rubisco) by Self-Assembled Nanostructures
Nanostructures that enhance the stability of biocatalysts that permit them to be utilized in scalable CO2 conversion processes
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the two most abundant greenhouse gasses, trapping thermal radiation close to the earth's atmosphere and contributing to climate change. These two gasses contributed up to 92% of all the greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 (epa.gov). From an industrial perspective, carbon dioxide provides a very abundant source of carbon for the synthesis of a large range of useful chemicals. Plants and microbes are capable of efficiently converting CO2 into sugars and other compounds, but these processes are difficult to replicate in an industrial context. In addition, existing methods of converting CH4 into methanol are very energy consuming. To bring biomolecule emission conversion into an industrial setting, a scalable housing for biocatalysts is essential.
The Ohio State University researchers, led by Dr. Jonathan Parquette, developed nanostructures that enhance the stability of biocatalysts that permit them to be utilized in scalable CO2 conversion processes. The invention consists of a nanotube scaffolding for the biocatalyst to reduce the energy required to bring reactants together for product formation. This cell-free catalytic system can better withstand the harsh conditions and requires less maintenance. As the world's most abundant enzyme, RubisCO was the first biocatalyst incorporated with this invention. Functionality has been demonstrated with better stability and/or resilience in comparison to free form.