Lessons from natural photosynthesis: Conversion of CO2 to raw materials for plastic

By Osaka Metropolitan University
Science Daily
August 22, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

In plants, natural photosynthesis binds carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic compounds, which can then be converted into glucose or starch. These useful molecules can be sequestered, storing the carbon in a solid form. Artificial photosynthesis mimics this process by reducing the greenhouse gas CO2 — the main cause of climate change — which is converted into other useful substances. Researchers from Osaka Metropolitan University have managed to create fumarate using artificial photosynthesis on pyruvate and CO2. This fumarate can be used to make biodegradable plastic like polybutylene succinate, storing the carbon in a compact, durable, solid form. Currently, most fumarate used to make this plastic is produced from petroleum, so creating fumarate from CO2 and biomass-derived pyruvate is highly desirable.

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