Hydrogen production

Protein environment makes catalyst efficient

©RUB, Marquard

Biocatalysts are large protein molecules. The actual reaction takes place only at a small centrepiece. But the rest also plays a role.

The interaction of protein shell and active centre in hydrogen-producing enzymes is crucial for the efficiency of biocatalysts. A team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr specifically analysed the role of hydrogen bonds in certain enzymes from green algae, the hydrogenases. The groups, which cooperate in the Excellence Cluster Resolv, reported the results in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“The findings not only contribute to the understanding of this globally recognized biocatalyst group, but also give applied research important pointers for the development of chemical catalysts modelled on the highly active biomolecule”, says Dr Martin Winkler from the Bochum-based working group Photobiotechnology.