Researchers find new way to drive biocatalysis with plasmas

March 15, 2020 |

In Germany, a research team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum developed a new method to drive catalytically active enzymes, using a process in which the starting material hydrogen peroxide is supplied to the biocatalysts in a controlled manner using plasma.

A buffer layer protects the enzymes themselves from harmful components of the plasma. Using two model enzymes, the team was able to show that the process works.

Enzyme catalysis has many advantages over traditional chemical processes – but also weak points. So some enzymes are not very stable. Enzymes that convert hydrogen peroxide are even inactivated by high concentrations of the substrate.

The research team looked at two similar classes of enzymes: peroxidases and peroxygenases. Both use hydrogen peroxide as a starting material for oxidation. The crucial problem is that hydrogen peroxide is absolutely necessary for activity, but in higher concentrations it leads to loss of activity of the enzymes. For these enzyme classes in particular, it is therefore very important to add hydrogen peroxide in doses.

To achieve this, the researchers examined plasmas as a source of hydrogen peroxide. At work, the team was able to show that this system works in principle. At the same time, the weaknesses of the plasma treatment were identified. The working group was able to improve the reaction conditions by binding the enzyme to an inert carrier. This creates a buffer zone above the enzyme in which the highly reactive plasma species can react without harming the enzyme.


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Category: Research

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