Chemists Turn “Air” into Protein

Biochemists have discovered an enzyme that can directly convert atmospheric carbon dioxide and alcohol into methionine molecules, one of the key “molecules of life”. The results of their experiments were published in (Nature Catalysis) journal.

“In comparison with photosynthesis, the closest natural analogue of this process, our idea looks very simple and elegant, about 14 different enzymes participate in photosynthesis, and its efficiency usually reaches 20%, whereas our approach requires only two protein catalysts,” – said Arne Skerra (Arne Skerra) from the Technical University of Munich (Germany).

This process was discovered back in 1903 by the famous German chemist “Felix Ehrlich”, and since then scientists have been trying to adapt it for the production of various alcohols, as well as revealing the secrets of its impact on the human body.

The scientistsbelieve that many of the enzymes involved in the work of the “Ehrlich chain” can be made to speed up the reverse reactions, slightly changing their structure.

Guided by this idea, scientists tried to force two such proteins not to decompose amino acids into alcohols and carbon dioxide, but rather to collect their molecules (amino acids) from these components.

They succeeded in their efforts and received the methionine component, which is currently being added to animal and poultry feed.

Scientists believe that their method will help to produce other amino acids and, theoretically, allow food to come directly from the air.

Source: Novosti



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