Monday, March 5, 2007

Rosetta@home Branches Out

The Rosetta@home project (which I blogged about in December) has branched out from its original mission of predicting protein structures. David Baker reports in the Rosetta blog that they are working on a way to convert carbon dioxide into simple sugars using enzymes computationally engineered using Rosetta@home.

David writes:
Graduate student Justin Siegal and postdoc Eric Althoff have come up with a very clever new reaction cycle using new enzymes we would collectively engineer that in total carries out the following reaction:

2C02 + 2e- + H20 -> C2O3H2 + O2

the product is a simple sugar that could be used in a variety of ways, and the removal of C02 from the atmosphere would be great for countering global warming. A nice thing about this compared to current ideas of forming inorganic carbonate compounds is that it requires no other inputs. However, it does require electrons, and hence a source of energy. We are currently assessing the energy requirements of this process and comparing them to those of other proposed carbon sequestration mechanisms.

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