From left: Jing QIAO, Tao CAI, Yanhe MA, Leilei ZHU, Hongbing SUN
Starches, a storage form of carbohydrates, are a major source of calories in the human diet and a primary feedstock for bioindustry. Tao CAI, Associate Professor from Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, led a research about a chemical-biochemical hybrid pathway for starch synthesis from carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen in a cell-free system.
The artificial starch anabolic pathway (ASAP), driven by hydrogen, converts CO2 to starch at a rate of 22 nanomoles of CO2 per minute per milligram of total catalyst, an ~8.5-fold higher rate than starch synthesis in maize.
The hybrid system in which carbon dioxide is reduced to methanol by an inorganic catalyst and then converted by enzymes first to three and six carbon sugar units and then to polymeric starch, opens the way toward future chemo-biohybrid starch synthesis from CO2.