Cyanobacteria as green catalysts in biotech, researchers turn off unnecessary energy consumer

October 11, 2020 |

In Germany, researchers from the Technical University Graz and the RUB were able to increase the catalytic activity of cyanobacteria and makes them more attractive for biotechnological use, where they could be used with targeted enzymes as eco-friendly and readily available biocatalysts for the production of new chemicals.

Cyanobacteria, which – although they color water green with their special pigments – are also colloquially known as blue-green algae, are particularly effective at converting light energy into chemical energy thanks to their highly active photosynthetic cells.

Together with the RUB and the Finnish University of Turku, the algae working group at Graz University of Technology has now succeeded in increasing precisely this catalytic performance by diverting the photosynthetic electron flow into the desired catalytic function. “For the first time, we were able to measure the supply of photosynthetic energy directly in the cells with a time resolution so that we could identify bottlenecks in the metabolism”, explains Prof. Dr. Marc Nowaczyk from the Department of Plant Biochemistry at the RUB.

“That is why we switched off a system in the genome of the cyanobacterium that is supposed to protect the cell from fluctuating light. This system is not necessary under controlled cultivation conditions, but uses photosynthetic energy. Energy that we prefer to bring into the target reaction, ”explains Hanna Büchsenschütz, doctoral student at Graz University of Technology and first author of the study. This can improve the low productivity of cyanobacteria due to the high cell densities.

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Category: Research

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