New Advancement in Solar Energy Market: Researchers Detailed View of an Enzyme might help Develop Synthetic Solar Fuel Catalyst

Posted On April 16, 2022     

Photosynthesis refers to how plants and other microbes (such as Synechocystis) use sunlight to produce food. They use carbon dioxide and water to accomplish this task. They also release oxygen into the atmosphere as a byproduct.

Photosystem II is a critical enzyme in photosynthesis, as it oxidizes water molecules, removing their electrons for use as fuel. Scientists have long attempted to imitate this mechanism to construct more efficient solar fuel catalysts. However, it's been difficult for scientists to grasp the outcomes of their research without a precise image of Photosystem II's molecular structure in Synechocystis.

A Yale-led team of chemists has finally revealed the blueprints for a critical enzyme. The discovery may offer design ideas for a new generation of synthetic solar fuel catalysts. The study could bring boom within Solar Energy Market as it provides one of the most detailed and up-close views of Photosystem II in Synechocystis ever seen.

Researchers used cryo-electron microscopy on a Synechocystis bacteria to gain an extraordinary close-up image of Photosystem II. It is essentially an enzyme in photosynthesis that uses water as a solar fuel, allowing them to see how the enzyme operates.

The team's previous research on Synechocystis Photosystem II was in an "immature" state before the enzyme was capable of water oxidation. This work enabled the researchers to understand better how the enzyme is constructed.

In the new study, the researchers could see the enzyme present within Synechocystis in its mature, active form, including all of the protein subunits and activity found during water oxidation. Cryo-electron microscopy technology enabled the observation.

The researchers hope to use this new, up-close look of Photosystem II from Synechocystis to make small changes to the enzyme, like changing individual amino acids to examine how those changes affect the enzyme's function.

The study's primary objective is to comprehend the chemistry of water oxidation. The present framework can dismantle the system and help develop synthetic solar fuel catalyst design ideas.

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