Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic Catalyst Mimics Nature's 'Hydrogen Economy'

02.06.2009
By creating a model of the active site found in a naturally occurring enzyme, chemists at the University of Illinois have described a catalyst that acts like nature’s most pervasive hydrogen processor.

The researchers describe their work in a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and posted on the journal’s Web site.

Scientists have long been puzzled by nature’s ability to use cheap and plentiful building blocks – iron, nickel and sulfur – to achieve the catalytic performance seen in rare and expensive metals. In particular, two enzymes – iron-iron hydrogenase and nickel-iron hydrogenase – function as hydrogen processors, much like platinum.

“Nature relies on a very elaborate architecture to support its own ‘hydrogen economy,’ ” said Thomas B. Rauchfuss, a professor of chemistry and corresponding author of the paper. “We cracked that design by generating mock-ups of the catalytic site to include the substrate hydrogen atom.”

The researchers’ model of the nickel-iron complex is the first to include a bridging hydride ligand, an essential component of the catalyst.

“By better understanding the mechanism in the nickel-iron hydrogenase active site, we are learning how to develop new kinds of synthetic catalysts that may be useful in other applications,” said graduate student Bryan E. Barton, lead author of the paper.

“The study of hydrogenases offers plenty of potential glamour – such as the hydrogen economy, green energy and bio-fuel cells – but the lasting breakthroughs result from manipulable mechanistic models like ours,” said graduate student and co-author Matthew Whaley. “By building a model that contains a hydride ligand, we have proven that the behavior of these natural catalysts can be understood and optimized.”

University of Illinois crystallographer Danielle L. Gray also is a co-author of the paper.

The work was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Editor’s note: To reach Thomas Rauchfuss, call 217-333-7355; e-mail:
rauchfuz@illinois.edu.
To view or subscribe to the RSS feed for Science News at Illinois, go to: http://webtools.uiuc.edu/rssManager/608/rss.xml.

James E. Kloeppel | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>