Chinese scientists recently reported a de novo Route to artificial starch synthesis from carbon dioxide (CO2) for the first time. Relevant results were published in science on September 24th.
The new route enables starch production to be shifted from traditional agricultural cultivation to industrial production and opens up a new technical route for the synthesis of complex molecules from CO2.
Starch is the main component of grain and an important industrial raw material. Currently it is mainly used by crops like corn through the fixation of CO. produced2 through photosynthesis. This process includes around 60 biochemical reactions as well as complex physiological regulation. The theoretical energy conversion efficiency of this process is only about 2%.
Strategies for sustainable starch supply and CO. Use2 are urgently needed to cope with major human challenges such as the food crisis and climate change. Development of new ways besides plant photosynthesis to convert CO2 to strength is an important and innovative S&T mission and will be a significant disruptive technology in the world today.
To address this problem, scientists at the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have developed a chemoenzymatic system and an artificial starch-anabolic route that uses just 11 nuclear reactions to convert CO. consists2 in strength.
This route was established through a “building block strategy” in which the researchers integrated chemical and biological catalytic modules to generate high density energy and highly concentrated CO. to use2 in a biotechnologically innovative way.
The researchers systematically optimized this hybrid system through spatial and temporal segregation by addressing issues such as substrate competition, product inhibition and thermodynamic adaptation.
The artificial way can make starch from CO. produce2 with an efficiency 8.5 times higher than the starch biosynthesis in maize, which suggests a big step towards beyond nature. It offers a new scientific basis for creating biological systems with unprecedented functions.
“According to the current technical parameters, the annual starch production in a 1 cubic meter bioreactor theoretically corresponds to the annual starch yield from the cultivation of 1/3 hectare of maize without taking energy use into account,” says CAI Tao, first author of the study.
This work would open a window to the industrial production of starch from CO. to open2.
“If the total costs of the process can be reduced to an economically comparable level as in the case of agricultural planting in the future, more than 90% of the cultivated land and freshwater resources will be saved,” says MA Yanhe, corresponding author of the study.
In addition, it would also help avoid the negative environmental impacts of pesticide and fertilizer use, improve human food security, enable a carbon-neutral bioeconomy and ultimately promote the formation of a sustainable bio-based society.
TIB specializes in artificial starch biosynthesis and CO. concentrated2 Use since 2015. For this demand-oriented S&T research, all types of innovation resources have been bundled and the integration of “discipline, task and platform” strengthened in order to achieve efficient coordination of research efforts.