Enlisting a drug discovery technique in the battle against global warming

February 3, 2010, American Chemical Society
Carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks could be captured with eco-friendly proteins developed with a technique long used to discover new medicines. Credit: iStock

Scientists in Texas are reporting that a technique used in the search for new drugs could also be used in the quest to discover new, environmentally friendly materials for fighting global warming. Such materials could be used to capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks and other fixed sources before it enters the biosphere. The new study appears in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels.

Michael Drummond and colleagues Angela Wilson and Tom Cundari note that greener carbon-capture technologies are a crucial component in mitigating climate change. Existing technology is expensive and can generate hazardous waste. They point out that proteins, however, can catalyze reactions with , the main , in an environmentally friendly way. That fact got the scientists interested in evaluating the possibility of using proteins in carbon capture technology.

In the study, they used the pharmacophore concept to probe how the 3-dimensional structure of proteins affects their ability to bind and capture carbon dioxide. The German chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich, who originated the concept a century ago, defined a pharmacophore as the molecular framework that carries the key features responsible for a drug's activity.

The scientists concluded that the approach could point the way to the development of next-generation carbon capture technologies.

Explore further: Promising new material for capturing CO2 from smokestacks

More information: "Toward Greener Carbon Capture Technologies: A Pharmacore-Based Approach to Predict CO2 Binding Sites in Proteins", Energy & Fuels.

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3 / 5 (2) Feb 03, 2010
What will it take to stop these articles about AGW.
How about showing that lead AGW scientist lied? Nope that doesn't work.
How about showing their studies are fundamentally flawed? Nope that doesnt work.
How about showing their models are junk? Nope that doesnt work.

Anybody have any idea how to lead AGW proponents, believers to the truth?
3 / 5 (2) Feb 03, 2010
This whole AGW noise reminds me the glory days of Soviet Union. Everybody was an "expert" in economics and knew how to fix the system. Look how it ended.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 03, 2010
They point out that proteins, however, can catalyze reactions with carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in an environmentally friendly way.

What happens when it doesn't work because they didn't focus on the real main greenhouse gas: water vapor?
not rated yet Feb 04, 2010
"In the study, they used the pharmacophore concept to probe how the 3-dimensional structure of proteins affects their ability to bind and capture carbon dioxide."

A staightforward approach. I fail to see how anyone could object to the removal of CO2.

"What will it take to stop these articles about AGW."

Even the American Enterprise Institute -hardly a place for liberals- has people looking into how to counter global warming.
Furthermore, AGW is not as controversial in Europe as it is in USA because people there recognise that a hundred research groups scattered over the world simply cannot be part of a conspiracy!

-For an article of trust/distrust of experts regarded as part of a peer group/adversial group, see a recent article in Nature magazine. Basically, people choose whom to trust in the same way they choose which sports team to cheer!
-If more republicans cound overcome the fear of being labelled "RINO" and support measures reducing CO2, this factor will change.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2010
Your statement that AGW is not as controversial in Europe is dumb. If there is no AGW, then it just proves how gullable the Europeans are.

If more democrats in the US werent afraid of questioning settled science Al Gore and the rest of the AGW crowd would be back in the poor house.
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
Conspiracy? No conspiracy? Why so black and white? The science is not settled as of yet. Why not think of it as more gullibility? I can see it happening without a global scientific conspiracy. They thought the work of the IPCC was peer-reviewed science. Why check for errors? Just use the data!

Of course, a lot of these scientists who did not check the work upon which they relied have now found themselves cast in a bad light. Simple compounded error. Well, that and the blast of hot Saharan air Europe got a couple years ago made a lot of Europeans believers in the AGW religion.

Trouble is, that was just an anomaly not the globe getting significantly hotter. But, many have not figured that out yet.

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