(Cornell University) Cornell University scientists have engineered a key plant enzyme and introduced it in Escherichia coli bacteria in order to create an optimal experimental environment for studying how to speed up photosynthesis, a holy grail for improving crop yields.
Researchers at Aalto University and York University have succeeded in creating a water-repellent composite structure out of lignin particles, in which the enzymes or biocatalysts can be separated from surrounding water.The breakthrough was accomplished when the researchers discovered that, by regulating the surface charge of single lignin particles, enzymes can be made to adhere to the surface of particles.As material supporting the structure, they utilised a natural polymer isolated from seaweed.The researchers were surprised to discover that, when introduced, the lignin particles multiplied enzyme efficiency and enabled enzyme recycling in a synthetic reaction that would not otherwise occur in water.We are already able to manufacture lignin particles in batches of several kilogrammes.Of course, we hope that this will become a sustainable option for the enzyme industry to replace fossil materials in technical applications", says Postdoctoral Researcher Mika Sipponen.