SLAC and partners explore how a soil microbe could rev up artificial photosynthesis

SLAC and partners explore how a soil microbe could rev up artificial photosynthesis

May 4, 2022

While most people think of plants as the key to turning carbon dioxide from the air into carbon-rich biomolecules – a process called carbon fixation – soil bacteria is the real MVP. Some bacterial enzymes carry out a key step in carbon fixation 20 times faster than plant enzymes do. Now, a team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany, DOE’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the University of ConcepciĆ³n in Chile have uncovered how a bacterial enzyme – a molecular machine that facilitates chemical reactions – revs up to perform this feat. Scientists are trying to harness and improve these reactions for artificial photosynthesis to make a variety of products, converting the greenhouse gas into fuels, fertilizers, antibiotics and other products.

Read More