Commenced in January 2007
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Search results for: hydrogenase

4 De Novo Design of a Minimal Catalytic Di-Nickel Peptide Capable of Sustained Hydrogen Evolution

Authors: Saroj Poudel, Joshua Mancini, Douglas Pike, Jennifer Timm, Alexei Tyryshkin, Vikas Nanda, Paul Falkowski

Abstract:

On the early Earth, protein-metal complexes likely harvested energy from a reduced environment. These complexes would have been precursors to the metabolic enzymes of ancient organisms. Hydrogenase is an essential enzyme in most anaerobic organisms for the reduction and oxidation of hydrogen in the environment and is likely one of the earliest evolved enzymes. To attempt to reinvent a precursor to modern hydrogenase, we computationally designed a short thirteen amino acid peptide that binds the often-required catalytic transition metal Nickel in hydrogenase. This simple complex can achieve hundreds of hydrogen evolution cycles using light energy in a broad range of temperature and pH. Biophysical and structural investigations strongly indicate the peptide forms a di-nickel active site analogous to Acetyl-CoA synthase, an ancient protein central to carbon reduction in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and capable of hydrogen evolution. This work demonstrates that prior to the complex evolution of multidomain enzymes, early peptide-metal complexes could have catalyzed energy transfer from the environment on the early Earth and enabled the evolution of modern metabolism

Keywords: hydrogenase, prebiotic enzyme, metalloenzyme, computational design

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3 Increasing Photosynthetic H2 Production by in vivo Expression of Re-Engineered Ferredoxin-Hydrogenase Fusion Protein in the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Authors: Dake Xiong, Ben Hankamer, Ian Ross

Abstract:

The most urgent challenge of our time is to replace the depleting resources of fossil fuels by sustainable environmentally friendly alternatives. Hydrogen is a promising CO2-neutral fuel for a more sustainable future especially when produced photo-biologically. Hydrogen can be photosynthetically produced in unicellular green alga like Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, catalysed by the inducible highly active and bidirectional [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes (HydA). However, evolutionary and physiological constraints severely restrict the hydrogen yield of algae for industrial scale-up, mainly due to its competition among other metabolic pathways on photosynthetic electrons. Among them, a major challenge to be resolved is the inferior competitiveness of hydrogen production (catalysed by HydA) with NADPH production (catalysed by ferredoxin-NADP+-reductase (FNR)), which is essential for cell growth and takes up ~95% of photosynthetic electrons. In this work, the in vivo hydrogen production efficiency of mutants with ferredoxin-hydrogenase (Fd*-HydA1*) fusion protein construct, where the electron donor ferredoxin (Fd*) is fused to HydA1* and expressed in the model organism C. reinhardtii was investigated. Once Fd*-HydA1* fusion gene is expressed in algal cells, the fusion enzyme is able to draw the redistributed photosynthetic electrons and use them for efficient hydrogen production. From preliminary data, mutants with Fd*-HydA1* transgene showed a ~2-fold increase in the photosynthetic hydrogen production rate compared with its parental strain, which only possesses the native HydA in vivo. Therefore, a solid method of having more efficient hydrogen production in microalgae can be achieved through the expression of the synthetic enzymes.

Keywords: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, ferredoxin, fusion protein, hydrogen production, hydrogenase

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2 Manganese Imidazole Complexes: Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Production

Authors: Vishakha Kaim, Mookan Natarajan, Sandeep Kaur-Ghumaan

Abstract:

Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements present on earth’s crust and considered to be the simplest element in existence. It is not found naturally as a gas on earth and thus has to be manufactured. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources, i.e., water, fossil fuels, or biomass and it is a byproduct of many chemical processes. It is also considered as a secondary source of energy commonly referred to as an energy carrier. Though hydrogen is not widely used as a fuel, it still has the potential for greater use in the future as a clean and renewable source of energy. Electrocatalysis is one of the important source for the production of hydrogen which could contribute to this prominent challenge. Metals such as platinum and palladium are considered efficient for hydrogen production but with limited applications. As a result, a wide variety of metal complexes with earth abundant elements and varied ligand environments have been explored for the electrochemical production of hydrogen. In nature, [FeFe] hydrogenase enzyme present in DesulfoVibrio desulfuricans and Clostridium pasteurianum catalyses the reversible interconversion of protons and electrons into dihydrogen. Since the first structure for the enzyme was reported in 1990s, a range of iron complexes has been synthesized as structural and functional mimics of the enzyme active site. Mn is one of the most desirable element for sustainable catalytic transformations, immediately behind Fe and Ti. Only limited number manganese complexes have been reported in the last two decades as catalysts for proton reduction. Furthermore, redox reactions could be carried out in a facile manner, due to the capability of manganese complexes to be stable at different oxidation states. Herein are reported, four µ2-thiolate bridged manganese complexes [Mn₂(CO)₆(μ-S₂N₄C₁₄H₁₀)] 1, [Mn₂(CO)7(μ- S₂N₄C₁₄H₁₀)] 2, Mn₂(CO)₆(μ-S₄N₂C₁₄H₁₀)] 3 and [Mn₂(CO)(μ- S₄N₂C₁₄H₁₀)] 4 have been synthesized and characterized. The cyclic voltammograms of the complexes displayed irreversible reduction peaks in the range - 0.9 to -1.3 V (vs. Fc⁺/Fc in acetonitrile at 0.1 Vs⁻¹). The complexes were catalytically active towards proton reduction in the presence of trifluoroacetic acid as seen from electrochemical investigations.

Keywords: earth abundant, electrocatalytic, hydrogen, manganese

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1 Effect of Non-Regulated pH on the Dynamics of Dark Fermentative Biohydrogen Production with Suspended and Immobilized Cell Culture

Authors: Joelle Penniston, E. B. Gueguim-Kana

Abstract:

Biohydrogen has been identified as a promising alternative to the use of non-renewable fossil reserves, owing to its sustainability and non-polluting nature. pH is considered as a key parameter in fermentative biohydrogen production processes, due to its effect on the hydrogenase activity, metabolic activity as well as substrate hydrolysis. The present study assesses the influence of regulating pH on dark fermentative biohydrogen production. Four experimental hydrogen production schemes were evaluated. Two were implemented using suspended cells under regulated pH growth conditions (Sus_R) and suspended and non-regulated pH (Sus_N). The two others regimes consisted of alginate immobilized cells under pH regulated growth conditions (Imm_R) and immobilized and non-pH regulated conditions (Imm_N). All experiments were carried out at 37.5°C with glucose as sole source of carbon. Sus_R showed a lag time of 5 hours and a peak hydrogen fraction of 36% and a glucose degradation of 37%, compared to Sus_N which showed a peak hydrogen fraction of 44% and complete glucose degradation. Both suspended culture systems showed a higher peak biohydrogen fraction compared to the immobilized cell system. Imm_R experiments showed a lag phase of 8 hours, a peak biohydrogen fraction of 35%, while Imm_N showed a lag phase of 5 hours, a peak biohydrogen fraction of 22%. 100% glucose degradation was observed in both pH regulated and non-regulated processes. This study showed that biohydrogen production in batch mode with suspended cells in a non-regulated pH environment results in a partial degradation of substrate, with lower yield. This scheme has been the culture mode of choice for most reported studies in biohydrogen research. The relatively lower slope in pH trend of the non-regulated pH experiment with immobilized cells (Imm_N) compared to Sus_N revealed that that immobilized systems have a better buffering capacity compared to suspended systems, which allows for the extended production of biohydrogen even under non-regulated pH conditions. However, alginate immobilized cultures in flask systems showed some drawbacks associated to high rate of gas production that leads to increased buoyancy of the immobilization beads. This ultimately impedes the release of gas out of the flask.

Keywords: biohydrogen, sustainability, suspended, immobilized

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