Biotech Updates

In Biotech Breakthrough, Scientists Discover Reverse Photosynthesis

April 6, 2016

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a natural process that they describe as reverse photosynthesis. They have discovered that monooxygenases, natural enzymes also used in industrial biofuel production, multiply their effectiveness when exposed to sunlight. The process is called reverse photosynthesis because the enzymes use atmospheric oxygen and the Sun's rays to break down and transform carbon bonds, in plants among other things, instead of building plants and producing oxygen that is typically understood with photosynthesis.

"This is a game changer, one that could transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals, thus serving to reduce pollution significantly," says University of Copenhagen Professor Claus Felby, who leads the research. David Cannella, a fellow researcher and discoverer, explains that the discovery means that by using the sun, biofuels and biochemicals for things like plastics can be produced faster, at lower temperatures and with enhanced energy-efficiency. He added that some of the reactions, which usually take 24 hours, can be achieved in just 10 minutes by using the sun.

Read more about this research at the University of Copenhagen website.