Green Chemistry by New Plant Enzyme

Green Chemistry by New Plant Enzyme. Plant enzyme’s new function discovered by scientists researching on plant enzymes might lead to Green Chemistry.

A new function in a plant enzyme has been discovered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers. For the design of new chemical catalysts, this function could have implications. The enzyme initiates or catalyzes, one of the cornerstone chemical reactions needed to produce a variety of organic molecules, including the ones used as raw materials for making plastics and the ones found in cosmetics, lubricants, etc. A variety of organic molecules can be synthesized using fatty acid, so the plant enzyme’s discovery is capable of inspiring the development of new “greener” catalysts used in industries.

This research’s lead, John Shanklin, a biochemist at Brookhaven Lab says, ” A new form of ‘green’ chemistry can be inspired by this enzyme. We have possibilities of adapting this biomolecule for making chemicals in plants or to replace toxic and expensive catalysts currently used by using it for designing new bio-inspired catalysts. There is no need for further processing or any waste as the mutants of these enzymes make a single form naturally.”The enzyme mutants we discovered naturally make a single form, so it’s ready to use without further processing or waste.

In the course of the team’s ongoing research into enzymes that desaturate plant oils, they made this discovery. In a hydrocarbon chain, the hydrogen atoms are stripped off from specific adjacent carbon atoms and a double bond is inserted between those carbon atoms, by these desaturase enzymes. Previously, Shanklin’s team had created a triple mutant version of a desaturase enzyme having interesting properties, and the team had studied three mutations separately to find what each one did.

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The Plant Physiology Journal published the paper by Shanklin and his team which described the research.DOE Office of Science funded this study.More information: Brookhaven National Laboratory

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