Nav: Home

Metallic nanocatalysts imitate the structure of enzymes

November 08, 2018

An international team of researchers has transferred certain structural characteristics of natural enzymes, which ensure particularly high catalytic activity, to metallic nanoparticles. The desired chemical reaction thus did not take place at the particle surface as usual, but in channels inside the metal particles - and with three times higher catalytic activity. A team from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, reported on these nanozymes in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, published online on 23 September 2018.

Active centres in channels

In the case of enzymes, the active centres, where the chemical reaction takes place, are located inside. The reacting substances have to pass through a channel from the surrounding solution to the active centre, where the spatial structure provides particularly favourable reaction conditions. "It is assumed, for example, that a locally altered pH value prevails in the channels and that the electronic environment in the active centres is also responsible for the efficiency of natural enzymes," says Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann, head of the Bochum Center for Electrochemical Sciences.

Channels produced in nickel-platinum particles

In order to artificially imitate the enzyme structures, the researchers produced particles of nickel and platinum about ten nanometres in diameter. They then removed the nickel by means of chemical etching, whereby channels were formed. In the final step, they deactivated the active centres on the particle surface. "This enabled us to ensure that only the active centres in the channels participated in the reaction," explains Patrick Wilde, a doctoral candidate at the Center for Electrochemical Sciences. The researchers compared the catalytic activity of the particles produced in this way with the activity of conventional particles with active centres on the surface.

Three times greater activity

For the test, the team used the oxygen reduction reaction, which, among other things, forms the basis of the operation of fuel cells. Active centres at the end of the channels catalysed the reaction three times more efficiently than active centres on the particle surface.

"The results show the enormous potential of nanozymes," sums up Dr. Corina Andronescu, a group leader at the Center for Electrochemical Sciences. The researchers now want to extend the concept to other reactions, such as electrocatalytic CO2 reduction, and investigate the principles of increased activity in more detail. "We would like to be able to imitate the way enzymes work even better in the future," adds Schuhmann. "Ultimately, we hope that the concept will contribute to industrial applications in order to make energy conversion processes more efficient using electricity generated from renewable sources."
-end-


Ruhr-University Bochum

Related Enzymes Articles:

Fungal enzymes team up to more efficiently break down cellulose
Cost-effectively breaking down bioenergy crops into sugars that can then be converted into fuel is a barrier to commercially producing sustainable biofuels.
How enzymes communicate
Freiburg scientists explain the cell mechanism that transforms electrical signals into chemical ones.
Pac-Man-like CRISPR enzymes have potential for disease diagnostics
UC Berkeley researchers have found 10 new variants of the Cas13a enzyme, the Pac-Man of the CRISPR world, that hold promise for disease diagnostics.
Hydrogen production: This is how green algae assemble their enzymes
Researchers at Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum have analyzed how green algae manufacture complex components of a hydrogen-producing enzyme.
New studies unravel mysteries of how PARP enzymes work
A component of an enzyme family linked to DNA repair, stress responses, and cancer also plays a role in enhancing or inhibiting major cellular activities under physiological conditions, new research shows.
Understanding enzymes
A new tool can help researchers more accurately identify enzymes present in microbiomes and quantify their relative abundances.
Light powers new chemistry for old enzymes
Princeton researchers have developed a method that irradiates biological enzymes with light to expand their highly efficient and selective capacity for catalysis to new chemistry.
Research finds enzymes essential for DNA repair
Scientists at The Australian National University and Heidelberg University in Germany have found an essential component in the DNA repair process which could open the door to the development of new cancer drugs.
New step towards clean energy production from enzymes
Oxygen inhibits hydrogenases, a group of enzymes that are able to produce and split hydrogen.
Genetic diversity of enzymes alters metabolic individuality
Scientists from Tohoku University's Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization have published research about genetic diversity and metabolome in Scientific Reports.

Related Enzymes Reading:

The Enzyme Factor
by Hiromi Shinya MD (Author)

Enzymes: The Key to Health, Vol. 1 (The Fundamentals)
by Howard F., Jr. Loomis (Author)

Enzyme Nutrition
by Dr. Edward Howell (Author)

Fundamentals of Enzyme Kinetics
by Athel Cornish-Bowden (Author)

The Enzyme Advantage: For Health Care Providers And People Who Care About Their Health
by Dr. Howard F Loomis Jr. (Author), Arnold Mann (Author)

Enzymes: What the Experts Know
by Tom Bohager (Author)

Enzymes: Go With Your Gut: More Practical Guidelines For Digestive Enzymes
by Karen DeFelice (Author)

The Miracle Enzyme is Serrapeptase: The 2nd Gift From Silkworms: Giving The Answer To Pain, Chronic Inflammation and Clogged Arteries
by Robert Redfern (Author)

Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity 3rd Edition
by Lotus Press

Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions (Updated Third Edition)
by Karen DeFelice (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Where Joy Hides
When we focus so much on achievement and success, it's easy to lose sight of joy. This hour, TED speakers search for joy in unexpected places, and explain why it's crucial to a fulfilling life. Speakers include inventor Simone Giertz, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee, journalist David Baron, and musician Meklit Hadero.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#500 500th Episode
This week we turn 500! To celebrate, we're taking the opportunity to go off format, talk about the journey through 500 episodes, and answer questions from our lovely listeners. Join hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders as we talk through the show's history, how we've grown and changed, and what we love about the Science for the People. Here's to 500 more episodes!