Alcohol could be produced more efficiently with hybrid nanocages

Created under the reaction of nanoparticles money with chloroauric acid in boiling water, nanocages are porous, hollow nanoparticles ranging in size from 10 to over 150 nm. In a new study, researchers from Tokyo Tech discovered that a new ferritin nanocage hybrid with histidine residues absorbs more than 1.5 times metal ions. This discovery could help improve the efficiency of catalysis in the production of alcohol.

Based on the results, the researchers suggest that hybrid bionanocages could catalyze reactions effectively. This would make it possible to obtain products of great industrial interest. Biological polymers can spontaneously self-assemble into a complex architecture resembling smaller vessels called nano cages.

Most efforts aimed at increasing metal ion absorption in ferritin gave rise to unstable cages. Therefore, an effective design is needed so that ” the guest “ can fit well in the cage.

A significant improvement in production?

The team implanted specific mutations within the nano cage of ferritin. This intensified its uptake of the iridium complex (IrCp). The latter is an essential catalyst in the production of alcohol. It is used in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries.

Scientists have used the amino acid histidine to swap two residues, arginine and aspartic acid, to create the mutants R52H and D38H. Impressively, the cage size was not affected by these changes.

Adding IrCp to the mutants showed that the R52H was able to integrate 1.5 times more iridium atoms than the blank cage. But the amazing thing is that the D38H mutant typically behaved like a virgin.

But why is the effect the same for both mutants? The professor affirms that it is not only the presence of residue (histidine), but its site which is crucial in determining the efficiency of absorption in the cage. The use of new catalytic cages has made it possible to achieve a high alcohol production rate of 88% by researchers.

Hybrid bionanocages as reliable catalysts

For other catalytic applications in industry, these results would make it possible to create new mutants ferritin with selective absorption of molecules.

Professor Takafumi Ueno of Tokyo Tech explained that the presence of coordinating amino acids in the cage enhances the activity of iridium. Finding the appropriate residue could then greatly improve yield.

Furthermore, the hybrid bionanocages proved to be particularly stable. This could mean that they could be used as catalysts viable in industrial applications.


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