Scientists from Indiana University have developed a cheap and efficient biomaterial that speeds up the formation of hydrogen, thus, paving the way for the production of eco–friendly biofuel. The biomaterial is about 150 times more efficient than unaltered form of the enzyme and gains strength from a protective protein shell or capsid of a bacterial virus.
The lead published in the journal ‘Nature Chemistry’ reports that scientists have taken the virus’s ability to self–assemble myriad genetic building blocks by incorporating a very fragile and sensitive enzyme to take in protons and spit out hydrogen gas. The genetic material used to create the enzyme, hydrogenase, is produced from two genes obtained from the common bacteria E. Coli, which is inserted inside the protective capsid.
The resultant biomaterial called ‘P22–Hyd’ is not only more efficient than the unaltered enzyme but is also produced through a simple fermentation process at room temperature. One of P22–Hyd’s remarkable characteristics is that it breaks the chemical bonds of water to produce hydrogen and also reverses to recombine hydrogen and oxygen to generate power.