[Explanation] Recently, the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences has made a major breakthrough in the artificial synthesis of starch, and for the first time in the world, the de novo synthesis of carbon dioxide to starch has been realized.

Related work was published in the international academic journal "Science" on September 24.

  [Concurrent] Cai Tao, Associate Researcher, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

  This time, our research team proposed a new idea of ​​catalyzing the synthesis of starch by chemical and biological coupling. It designed and created a new artificial way to synthesize starch from carbon dioxide with only 11 steps from the ground up. It is also the first time in the laboratory in the world. To achieve the full artificial synthesis of carbon dioxide to starch, it currently only takes a few hours in the laboratory to complete the starch synthesis process that takes months for crops.

  [Explanation] Starch is the most important component of food, and it is also an important industrial raw material.

At present, starch is mainly produced by corn and other crops by fixing carbon dioxide through natural photosynthesis. The synthesis and accumulation of starch involves more than 60 steps of biochemical reactions and complex physiological regulation, and the theoretical energy conversion efficiency is only about 2%.

  [Concurrent] Ma Yanhe, Director of Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

  Generally speaking, the artificial synthesis of starch, compared with the natural synthesis, from the form of energy utilization, it only uses light energy, which can be turned into electricity, in fact, it is ultimately hydrogen energy.

The reaction steps are shortened from the natural 60 steps to 11 steps, the energy conversion efficiency is from 2% to 7%, and the carbon conversion rate is greatly improved.

This way we can use high-concentration carbon dioxide as a raw material, and can also use high-density energy, such as hydrogen energy for energy supply. There is a shorter way and more efficient efficiency.

  [Explanation] The planting of crops usually requires a long period of time, requiring the use of a large amount of land, fresh water and other resources, as well as fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural production materials.

The food crisis and climate change are major challenges facing mankind. The sustainable supply of food starch and the conversion and utilization of carbon dioxide are the strategic directions of scientific and technological innovation in the world today.

Without relying on plant photosynthesis, designing an artificial biological system to fix carbon dioxide to synthesize starch will be a major disruptive technology affecting the world.

  [Concurrent] Ma Yanhe, Director of Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

  If the route of synthetic starch can compete with agricultural planting in terms of economic feasibility, it will play a very important role in supporting our food security, the use of carbon dioxide, and our "dual carbon" goal.

Although it is still in the laboratory stage, there will be more scientific challenges in the future, but once the industry is realized, it can save more than 90% of arable land and save more than 90% of freshwater resources, which is important for the sustainable development of our country, including this for all mankind. The protection of food and clothing will play a very important role.

  Reporter Shan Lu reports from Beijing

Editor in charge: [Li Ji]

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