Professor Yutaka Amao from the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and Mika Takeuchi, a graduate student at the Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Science, used the biocatalyst malate dehydrogenase (oxaloacetate-decarboxylating) to combine CO2 with pyruvate, derived from biomass, to produce L-malic acid. Subsequently, the biocatalyst fumarase was used to dehydrate the L-malic acid to synthesize fumarate.
"The biocatalysts were used to convert CO2 into a raw material for plastic. Based on our results, we will continue to construct better CO2 conversion systems with an even lower environmental impact; we are aiming for more efficient conversion of CO2 into useful substances, using light energy," said Prof Amao.
With this success, the team has already begun researching new methods of artificial photosynthesis with the goal of producing fumarate using light as energy. If this technology can be realized, it will create a new artificial photosynthetic system to synthesize useful macromolecules from CO2.