Researchers figure out how to outperform nature's photosynthesis

Dec 20, 2011 by Nancy Owano weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) last week published a paper titled "Solar hydrogen-producing bionanodevice outperforms natural photosynthesis." The authors are Carolyn E. Lubner, Amanda M. Applegate, Philipp Knörzerb, Alexander Ganagoc, Donald A. Bryantc, Thomas Happe and John H. Golbeck. They modified the photosynthetic proteins found in cyanobacteria -- bacteria which gain their energy through photosynthesis.

Says io9: “They frankensteined together proteins from Synechococcus sp. with those from Clostridium acetobutylicum using molecular wire to create a 'hybrid biological/organic nanoconstruct' that was more efficient than either on their own.”

These researchers have created a tiny solar-powered device that works twice as fast as nature to produce biofuel. In describing their research they say that although solar biohydrogen systems using photosystem I (PSI) have been developed, few attain the electron transfer throughput of oxygenic photosynthesis.

They say they optimized a nanoconstruct that tethers FB, the terminal [4Fe-4S] cluster of PSI from Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, to the distal [4Fe-4S] cluster of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase (H2ase) from Clostridium acetobutylicum.

“On illumination, the PSI-[FeFe]-H2ase nanoconstruct evolves H2 at a rate of 2,200 ± 460 μmol mg chlorophyll-1 h-1, which is equivalent to 105 ± 22 e-PSI-1 s-1. evolve O2 at a rate of approximately 400 μmol mg chlorophyll-1 h-1, which is equivalent to 47 e-PSI-1 s-1, given a PSI to photosystem II ratio of 1.8.

“The greater than twofold electron throughput by this hybrid biological/organic nanoconstruct over in vivo oxygenic photosynthesis validates the concept of tethering proteins through their redox cofactors to overcome diffusion-based rate limitations on electron transfer.”

The researchers are among scientists in general who are looking at photosynthesis to invent materials and design new processes that can help save our planet. Associate Professor John Stride, of the University of New South Wales, commented to the ABC that “nature has had millennia to solve problems, and photosynthesis is very efficient.”

In turning to biomimicry, scientists are designing devices based on photosynthesis. As for the study authors, in making their biofuel device they replaced the FNR enzyme with hydrogenase.

One of the co-authors, Penn State Professor Donald Bryant, said there are good prospects for using some of these biological systems to produce biofuels for the future.

Explore further: New technique reveals immune cell motion through variety of tissues

More information: Solar hydrogen-producing bionanodevice outperforms natural photosynthesis, PNAS, Published online before print December 12, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1114660108

Abstract
Although a number of solar biohydrogen systems employing photosystem I (PSI) have been developed, few attain the electron transfer throughput of oxygenic photosynthesis. We have optimized a biological/organic nanoconstruct that directly tethers FB, the terminal [4Fe-4S] cluster of PSI from Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, to the distal [4Fe-4S] cluster of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase (H2ase) from Clostridium acetobutylicum. On illumination, the PSI–[FeFe]-H2ase nanoconstruct evolves H2 at a rate of 2,200 ± 460 μmol mg chlorophyll-1 h-1, which is equivalent to 105 ± 22 e-PSI-1 s-1. Cyanobacteria evolve O2 at a rate of approximately 400 μmol mg chlorophyll-1 h-1, which is equivalent to 47 e-PSI-1 s-1, given a PSI to photosystem II ratio of 1.8. The greater than twofold electron throughput by this hybrid biological/organic nanoconstruct over in vivo oxygenic photosynthesis validates the concept of tethering proteins through their redox cofactors to overcome diffusion-based rate limitations on electron transfer.

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kevinrtrs
Dec 20, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (16) Dec 20, 2011
"Nature" has not solved any problems whatsoever. Nature is not an intelligent being that somehow is able to discern, plan, organize and implement solutions to problems.

Stop being obtuse. The the article is not claiming that nature is intelligent or plans or whatnot.

Solving a problem can be done by trial and error with subsequent selection of the best solution as a basis for the next round. That is what nature does. No foresight or planning required whatsoever. Stop anthropomorphising nature.

Scientist are simply copying the designs of the master Creator

Well, if there is a 'master creator' then he isn't all that smart - because some humans working on the problem for a couple of years have already outdone him.

Isaacsname
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 20, 2011
Kevin, have you read about any of J.C. Bose's work ?
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (14) Dec 20, 2011
Well, if there is a 'master creator' then he isn't all that smart - because some humans working on the problem for a couple of years have already outdone him.


Your inability to comprehend the greater scheme of things is now showing.

The scientists made a "better" molecule as a stand-alone molecule for producing hydrogen, BUT it is no longer functional as a component of either of the original self-replicating, living systems, therefore it is NOT BETTER at what the original molecules actually did in their purpose and functions in the cells.

Your pathetic attempt at a rebuttal is a failure and only exposes your lack of understanding.
Sonhouse
4.9 / 5 (12) Dec 20, 2011
Well, if there is a 'master creator' then he isn't all that smart - because some humans working on the problem for a couple of years have already outdone him.


Your inability to comprehend the greater scheme of things is now showing.

The scientists made a "better" molecule as a stand-alone molecule for producing hydrogen, BUT it is no longer functional as a component of either of the original self-replicating, living systems, therefore it is NOT BETTER at what the original molecules actually did in their purpose and functions in the cells.

Your pathetic attempt at a rebuttal is a failure and only exposes your lack of understanding.


I think it's clear what he meant, you don't do yourself justice by twisting the issue into a creationist harangue.
It is clear they meant better for human use, obvious to everyone who doesn't have some pathetic agenda.
gwrede
4 / 5 (4) Dec 20, 2011
Isaac, I don't think Kev is equipped to understand the implications.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (8) Dec 20, 2011
Your inability to comprehend the greater scheme of things is now showing.

The great scheme of things is that evolution produces stuff to a degree that is good enough for survival* - not 'best' or 'perfect'. Otherwise you wouldn't be sitting in front of your computer wearing, in all likelyhood, some type of glasses...or occasionally downing medication when you get sick.

Point being: Arguing that a creator did a 'perfect job' at creating stuff - taking the currently in-play organisms as the height of his creation ability - is preposterous.

*and sometimes not even that. Species do go extinct all the time. This would speak volumes against the aptitude of a perfect creator. Unless you think that fossils and dinosaur bones are not real, of course.
Nanobanano
1.2 / 5 (11) Dec 20, 2011
I think it's clear what he meant, you don't do yourself justice by twisting the issue into a creationist harangue.
It is clear they meant better for human use, obvious to everyone who doesn't have some pathetic agenda.


Actually, he wasn't.

He was directly twisting it into an attack on the intelligence of the creator.
wealthychef
4 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2011
I love the accelerating pace of discovery in the energy arena. The day we get off dependence on fossil fuels and move to either nuclear fusion or solar technology is the day we remove the major impetus for war. Even religious zealots cannot do much damage if everyone has enough resources to be fairly comfortable.
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2011
The day we get off dependence on fossil fuels and move to either nuclear fusion or solar technology is the day we remove the major impetus for war.

While I share your enthusiasm about alternative energy sources I think there are still a lot of reasons for war - some of which will become a lot more pressing in the near future:

- water
- idology/religion (though I think idelogies/belief systems are always only tools - not something the ruling classes ever wholeheratedly believe in)
- resources like rare earths
- responses to cyberattack (and with the Chinese, US and North Korean strategies going from a 'defend' to an 'all out attack' on this front it is just a matter of time till some nation uses this as a casus belli)
- at the very least we'll see the continuation of arbitrary US wars to keep the military industrial complex afloat
nononoplease
1 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2011
"- at the very least we'll see the continuation of arbitrary US wars to keep the military industrial complex afloat"

You're a moron.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Dec 20, 2011
Prove me wrong then.

Was Iraq waged for any particular purpose other than the above mentioned? Was Vietnam? Was Korea? was Afghanistan?

None of these were any threat or had anything to do with the US.

You may not want to believe that, but the factis: what was purpoted to be the reason for these wars - it never held up afterwards. Just because you don't agree doesn't make you right. Look at the history. Look at the facts. Then come back and make an informed statement.

Haliburton getting no contract bids. Pumping more money into such a war per month than one could ever get out of it. It's just a big - and blindingly obvious - scam to get taxpayers money via congress directly into the military industrial complex without any control or oversight.
jimbo92107
5 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2011
Cobbling together pieces of living things to create a more efficient whole. Very creative and resourceful research. I just hope they find a way to mass produce this effect to create a viable product. Mastering the creation of new forms from what nature has evolved is what makes science so fascinating.
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 21, 2011
Was Iraq waged for any particular purpose other than the above mentioned? Was Vietnam? Was Korea? was Afghanistan?


Iraq - appears to have been started to show Daddy Bush that Dumbass has bigger balls than Daddy Bush.

Vietnam - Was a mess we got into because:

Eisenhower felt he needed to support the Frogs after WWII. He was wrong.

Kennedy felt we needed to stop the Communist tide.

Johnson seems to have thought the same and was a bloody idiot about it. If you look into it you will see he simply did not understand why so many were against it. The MIC clearly was not part of his motivations.

Nixon felt we had treaty obligations and forgot he said that wasn't enough.

Ford was continuing Nixon's extrication process.>>
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (7) Dec 21, 2011
None of the was about the MIC. Another silly idea is that it was over oil. What oil? There
still isn't any and there was no way to explore or even exploit offshore oil, that still
hasn't been found, while there was a shooting war going on. Even at the time I knew the oil conspiracy idea was idiotic.

Korea - What the hell? Go read the history please. The NORTH INVADED THE SOUTH. Got that. They started it. And there was a very reasonable perception that the Soviet Union under Stalin was trying to convert the whole bloody world to their system. Ask any of the Eastern European nations how well it went under Stalin.

Afghanistan - Al Queda was based there. It would have been stupid not to do something about it.>>
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 21, 2011
It has been stupid to take so bloody long and still be there. It is a damned dangerous place as anyone that has read much of the history of it can easily see. I recommend the first Flashman novel to give you an idea of just how dangerous. Hit the bastards and get out was what was needed.

The only one you have any point on is the first. Pr. Dumbass had VP. Mad Dog egging him on and Mad Dog/Daddy Warbucks is the personification of the MIC but he had to have to have Bush's ego buttons to push to get what he wanted.

The MIC does not need blood spilled to get contracts. Tension will do quite well. Especially if there is poor intelligence like was the case with Stalinist Russia.

Ethelred
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
None of the was about the MIC

C'mon. Those 'reasons' you gave for these wars must sound lame - even to you.

Consider that people in power are no goody-good idealists. Those type of peole NEVER make it into power. Neither do simply mad, vengeful people. Do you think one person can tell Congress what to do? The majority of Congress are (multi) millionairs. They didn't get to be that by being nice guys. They certainly will not turn nice once in power. Any and all such military actions are (and were) to their benefit.

Or do you honestly believe that Cheney didn't profit from Haliburton? r that the 'missile shield' is anything but a money making machine?

Just look at the numbers that have been spent on the defense sector for NO gain to the American public since WWII (that is when the industry woke up to the fact that war is good business). It can't be any more plain than that.
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 21, 2011
C'mon. Those 'reasons' you gave for these wars must sound lame - even to you.
No.

Consider that people in power are no goody-good idealists.
Consider that they are human beings and not just boogymen. Well except for VP Mad Dog.

Neither do simply mad, vengeful people.
Oh dear now I must transgress into an Internet cliche but it happens to fit.

Adolf Hitler.

Do you think one person can tell Congress what to do?
LBJ did for years. So yes if it is the right person. And Congress doesn't start wars. They only fund them.

The majority of Congress are (multi) millionairs.
Fantasy. Some are. Those in for a long time and certainly not in the 60's and even less for the 50's. Even in constant dollars.

They didn't get to be that by being nice guys.
Cynicism is the residue of ideals betrayed.

Any and all such military actions are (and were) to their benefit.
Only if they invested in those things. Many have few investments.>>
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2011
Or do you honestly believe that Cheney didn't profit from Haliburton?
Sorry if this seems out of line but can you read?

Perhaps if you try again.
VP. Mad Dog egging him on and Mad Dog/Daddy Warbucks is the personification of the MIC


And that only covers one of the wars. The one I said you had some point on but even then Bush's dick size was involved at least much as Mad Dog.

r that the 'missile shield' is anything but a money making machine?
You really don't know what you are talking about. The missile shield is the consequence of Reagan getting the hell scared out of him when he found out just how little he knew about nuclear warfare.

Just look at the numbers that have been spent on the defense sector for NO gain to the American public since WWII
Just look at how little of that wound up in the pocket of most Congressman.>>
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 21, 2011
(that is when the industry woke up to the fact that war is good business).
It sucks for any business without a direct line to war material. It is bad for the economy and only people that have been brainwashed failed to notice.

It can't be any more plain than that.
False dichotomy and a misunderstanding of both people and money on your part.

Again.

Cynicism is the residue of ideals betrayed.

Ethelred
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
No.

Really? A single spoiled brat with hardly any brains and aptitude (read his bio) able to manipulate an entire country into war because he held a grudge? Duping Senate and Congress and everybody in the military? That doesn't sound the least bit of a stretch to you?

Waging wars half way accroos the globe on a whim? That doesn't sound like a stretch?

Adolf Hitler.

Which is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Who do you think financed him and pushed him to power? The MIC of the time. Without them he was nothing (as evinced by the failed march on Munich). They profited throughout the war. Handsomly. (And most even got away scot free at the end..with Thyssen, Bayer, Mercedes Benz etc. largely intact.

Fantasy. Some are.

You're right. Not the majority. 47% are. The rest are not far behind (i.e. there are no poor or middle class there).
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2011
Cynicism is the residue of ideals betrayed.

actually I have no problem with them screwing us over - as long as it doesn't endanger me AND as long as they are honest about it: no problem.

But playing the public for fools - that I don't like. (As in the case of the WMDs ...that was so ludicrous from the word 'go'...I couldn't believe that so many people fell for it)
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2011
Really? A single spoiled brat with hardly any brains and aptitude (read his bio) able to manipulate an entire country into war because he held a grudge?
I didn't claim that. It was his primary motivation, and he is the one that had all the information available and he is the one that abused to achieve his goals while the Nation was in a frenzy.

Duping Senate and Congress and everybody in the military?
And himself.

That doesn't sound the least bit of a stretch to you?
Not at all. You are ignoring Mad Dog's considerable input and the state of the Nation.

Who do you think financed him and pushed him to power?
Fools.

Without them he was nothing (as evinced by the failed march on Munich).
Without him they would have had money and a place to spend it. With him they lost everything. Fools.

They profited throughout the war.
No. Albert Speer was running everything by 1942 or 43. Any money they got was not really in their control.>>
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2011
Thyssen, Bayer, Mercedes Benz etc. largely intact.
They all lost all their factories, their skilled employees and nothing was intact except will. You forgot Krupp. They make food processors.

The rest are not far behind (i.e. there are no poor or middle class there).
Most started as middle class. A few were poor. Not sure if anyone in Congress, at present, was poor except in childhood. To give an example Tricky Dicky was quite poor as a child.

Politicians make enough money, legally, to become quite rich over time. Anyone making about twice as much as I do, more depending on the number of dependents, can become rich. At my level just buying food is often an exercise in restraint.

actually I have no problem with them screwing us over
I do.

as long as it doesn't endanger me AND as long as they are honest about it: no problem.
War endangers us. No matter who starts it.>>
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2011
But playing the public for fools - that I don't like.
Not all politicians do so. Some do. Some are fools, most, if not all, of the teabaggers sure are.

If I had been in Congress for, oh say a decade, I would have been able to save rather a lot of money. As long as I didn't use to run for office, except to get started. One long term Los Angeles politician started by running around in his VW beetle and using a mimeograph.

(As in the case of the WMDs ...that was so ludicrous from the word 'go'...I couldn't believe that so many people fell for it)
The catch is that it was not ludicrous. Iraq used them against the Kurds and even Iraq. Saddam did everything he could to make it look like he was hiding them and may even have been doing so until shortly before the invasion. He didn't dare use them against the US early on and soon he had no way to deliver them. By soon I mean within hours of the start.>>
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2011
And again I have to point out that is all about Iraq, which I said the MIC was involved in, and nothing about the others you claimed as evidence.

Remember Mad Dog = The MIC. But they couldn't do diddly without the Boy Moron leading the way and the September 11 attack providing the motivation for the Nation.

The MIC is largely, though not entirely, a boogyman. It is people that can't figure out how to make a buck by producing anything except weapons. Krupp now makes toaster ovens. I suppose they also still make weapons. Someone is building the German tanks.

Ethelred
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 22, 2011
And himself.

And Cheney? And Powell? And Rumsfeld? And Rice?
Now I don't credit any of those with an overabundance of morals (maybe Powell) - but intelligence wise they can run circles around him.

Fools.

Fools don't have that kind of money. Yes, he got the support of a lot of the disenfranchised - but his cmpaign needed a lot of financing. You can gather up all the poor you want, but that will never get you enough financing to get a politcal campaign going (certainly not on the order or using the means used back then). If that were the case then the Bolshewiks would have long since accomplished it before Hitler did.

Any money they got was not really in their control

Germany was not communist. Speer got to tell everyon what to do - but he did still pay all these industrials. No freebie military products in that (or any other) time.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 22, 2011
Is the MIC really a bogey man? We have the evidence that lobby groups with FAR less money are influencing decisions in Washington (tomato paste on pizza is now a 'serving of vegetables'? Really?)

Big oil has been influencing the governement left and right (Securing the oil fields before anything else - like ministries, etc. ? Doesn't that sound odd to you?)

And the MIC gets so much more money than any other branch of industry...and they're supposed to NOT be involved at any level of influence? You're just kidding yourself.

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