Blog Apr 21, 2016
Reverse photosynthesis is a novel innovation put up by the scientists from the University of Copenhagen. Employing sunlight and a special enzyme, the process can break down plant substances into chemicals and biofuels with less pollution but higher efficiency.
The research team led by Claus Felby made the finding with not many difficulties as Professor Felby said that besides providing plants with an energy source to grow, another potential ability of photosynthesis is neglected by most of us-breaking down plant biomass, which is known as reverse photosynthesis. To be specific, reverse photosynthesis is a process by which solar energy stored in chlorophyll breaks substances in plant down into sub products under the assistance of an enzyme; some can be applied as chemicals and biofuels replacing industrial synthesis chemistry.
Reverse photosynthesis will spark more applications in various aspects. First, as a possible method for new biofuels production, it can contribute to the environment friendly fuel source discoveries by making use of free and endless solar energy, as well as a new way to produce some chemicals as sub products. Furtherly, reverse photosynthesis reaction can be done within very short period of time, providing possibility for an improvement in the time involved in reactions. It’s tested that it shortened the time for a reaction to only ten minutes from 24 hours, bringing a huge jump in cost saving.
Besides, reverse photosynthesis in chemical and biofuels production will bring much less pollution than the traditional methods.
The fields that will benefit most from the new tech are petrochemical and biofuels industrial production at present. The mechanism of the bio-process can be imitated. Using a similar structure to replace the chlorophyll in plant, everything else won’t be very complicated to achieve.
But it will take several years to develop this bio-process into a technology and make it combine with biotechnology and chemicals productions.
The research article is published on the journal of Nature Communications, titled as Light-driven oxidation of polysaccharides by photosynthetic pigments and a metalloenzyme, with DOI number being 10.1038/ncomms11134 in open access.
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