Amino acid reactor
New research from Kyushu University could one day help provide humans living away from Earth some of the nutrients they need to survive in space or even give clues to how life started.
Researchers at the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research reported a new process using electricity to drive the efficient synthesis of amino acids, opening the door for simpler and less-resource-intensive production of these key components for life.
In addition to being the basic building blocks of proteins, amino acids are also involved in various functional materials such as feed additives, flavor enhancers, and pharmaceuticals.
However, most current methods for artificially producing amino acids are based on fermentation using microbes, a process that is time and resource intensive, making it impractical for production of the vitals nutrients in space-limited and resource-restricted conditions.
Thus, researchers have been searching for efficient production methods driven by electricity, which can be generated from renewable sources, but efforts so far have used electrodes of toxic lead or mercury or expensive platinum and resulted in low efficiency and selectivity.
Takashi Fukushima and Miho Yamauchi now report in Chemical Communications that they succeeded in efficiently synthesizing several types of amino acids using abundant materials.
“The overall reaction is simple, but we needed the right combination of starting materials and catalyst to get it to actually work without relying on rare materials,” says Yamauchi.
The researchers settled on a combination of titanium dioxide as the electrocatalyst and an organic acid called alpha-keto acid as the key source material. Titanium dioxide is abundantly available on Earth, and alpha-keto acid can be easily extracted from woody biomass.
Placing the alpha-keto acid and a source of nitrogen, such as ammonia or hydroxylamine, in a water-based solution and running electricity through it using two electrodes, one of which was titanium dioxide, led to synthesis of the seven amino acids—alanine, glycine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, leucine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine—with high efficiency and high selectivity even under mild conditions.
Hydrogen, which is also needed as part of the reaction, was generated during the process as a natural result of running electricity between electrodes in water.
In addition to demonstrating the reaction, the researchers also built a flow reactor that can electrochemically synthesize the amino acids continuously, indicating the possibilities for scaling up production in the future.
“We hope that our approach will provide useful clues for the future construction of artificial carbon and nitrogen cycles in space,” comments Yamauchi.
“Electrochemical processes are also believed to have played a role in the origin of life by producing fundamental chemicals for life through non-biological pathways, so our findings may also contribute to the elucidation of the mystery of the creation of life,” she adds.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- This Is What Eating a Dozen Eggs a Day Does to Your Bodyon February 23, 2020 at 4:32 pm
In addition to being a great, keto-friendly source of protein, eggs also contain amino acids essential to human nutrition and have been linked to decreased blood pressure and increased testosterone in ...
- New torula yeast product as digestible as fish meal in weanling pig dietson February 23, 2020 at 7:15 am
URBANA, Ill. - Starting weanling pigs off with the right diet can make all the difference for the health and productivity of the animal. A new University of Illinois study shows amino acids from a new ...
- Amino acids from new torula yeast product are more digestible than fish meal by young pigson February 23, 2020 at 6:32 am
Starting weanling pigs off with the right diet can make all the difference for the health and productivity of the animal. A new University of Illinois study shows amino acids from a new torula yeast ...
- Global D-Amino Acids Industryon February 22, 2020 at 1:11 am
New York, Feb. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Global D-Amino Acids Industry" - https://www.reportlinker.com/p05621748/?utm_source=GNW The shifting ...
- Amino Acid Surfactants Market Report and Forecast Analysis Till 2025on February 21, 2020 at 11:53 am
Over the past decade, Amino Acid Surfactants Market is expected to achieve steady growth. Therefore, it is important to identify all investment opportunities, future market threats, constraints, ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Efficient synthesis of amino acids
- Amino acidson February 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm
sake NBRC 102480. Novel, efficient, facile, and comprehensive protocol for post-column amino acid analysis of icatibant acetate containing natural and unnatural amino acids using the QbD approach.
- Mammalian cell-free protein expression promotes the functional characterization of the tripartite non-hemolytic enterotoxin from Bacillus cereuson February 19, 2020 at 2:33 am
Our results demonstrate that cell-free protein synthesis based on translationally active eukaryotic lysates is a platform technology for the fast and efficient synthesis of functionally active ...
- Building block and rapid synthesis of catecholamines-inorganic nanoflowers with their peroxidase-mimicking and antimicrobial activitieson February 19, 2020 at 2:26 am
Up to date, proteins, enzymes (mostly considered as proteins), and amino acids (as the building blocks of peptides and proteins ... polar surface property behaves as an efficient Fenton agent by ...
- Leaking away essential resources actually helps cells growon February 14, 2020 at 6:03 am
The calculations were designed to identify what types of chemical synthesis pathways would become more efficient if some of their components leaked out to the ... enhances the biomass synthesis by the ...
- Do Protein Shakes Work? Muscle Gain and Weight Losson February 13, 2020 at 6:38 am
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dietary supplements are products that contain a dietary ingredient, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs (1 ... This happens because ...