Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Temporary storage for electrons in a hydrogen-producing enzyme

Date:
November 2, 2012
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
Scientists have found through spectroscopic investigations on a hydrogen-producing enzyme that the environment of the catalytic site acts as an electron reservoir in the enzyme. Thus, it can very efficiently produce hydrogen, which has great potential as a renewable energy source.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have found through spectroscopic investigations on a hydrogen-producing enzyme that the environment of the catalytic site acts as an electron reservoir in the enzyme. Thus, it can very efficiently produce hydrogen, which has great potential as a renewable energy source.

The research team describes their results in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Producing hydrogen with enzymes

The system analysed constitutes an enzyme that catalyses the formation and conversion of hydrogen. In its centre it has a double-iron core, and is therefore also called [FeFe] hydrogenase. Hydrogenases are of great interest for energy research, since they can efficiently produce hydrogen. However, new catalysts can only be developed given a deep understanding of their mode of action.

Electron transfer in several steps

In hydrogen production, two electrons get together with two protons. The research team showed that, as expected, the first electron is initially transferred to the iron centre of the enzyme. The second transfer on the other hand is to an iron-sulphur cluster that is located in the periphery. It thus forms a temporary storage for the second electron. This "super-reduced" state may be responsible for the extremely high efficiency of the hydrogenase. Subsequently both electrons are transferred in one step from the enzyme to the protons, so that hydrogen is generated.

"Only the use of two different spectroscopic techniques made the discovery possible," says Agnieszka Adamska, a doctoral student at MPI CEC who carried out the spectroscopic studies.

10,000 molecules of hydrogen per second

"Up to 10,000 molecules of hydrogen per second can be generated by a single [FeFe] centre," says Camilla Lambertz, a postdoc at the RUB who prepared the biological samples for the project. The enzyme is thus among the most efficient hydrogenases and is therefore also being intensively investigated by biologists and chemists with a view to achieving environmentally friendly hydrogen production.

The complete mechanism of hydrogen formation is, however, complex and several steps need to be clarified.

Next, the researchers at MPI CEC and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum aim to use sensitive spectroscopic methods to locate the proton to which the two electrons are transferred. This negatively charged hydrogen atom (hydride) reacts with another proton to form hydrogen. Inspired by the [FeFe] hydrogenase, the researchers would like to develop their own hydrogen-producing catalysts that could be used for the generation of hydrogen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Agnieszka Adamska, Alexey Silakov, Camilla Lambertz, Olaf Rüdiger, Thomas Happe, Edward Reijerse, Wolfgang Lubitz. Identification and Characterization of the “Super-Reduced” State of the H-Cluster in [FeFe] Hydrogenase: A New Building Block for the Catalytic Cycle? Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201204800

Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Temporary storage for electrons in a hydrogen-producing enzyme." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121102084458.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2012, November 2). Temporary storage for electrons in a hydrogen-producing enzyme. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121102084458.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Temporary storage for electrons in a hydrogen-producing enzyme." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121102084458.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) — Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) — Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) — The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins