Protein Might Help Fight Global Warming

DENTON, Texas, Feb. 8 (UPI) — University of North Texas scientists say they’ve found a way of using eco-friendly proteins to capture carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks.

The researchers said their technique might also be used to discover new, environmentally friendly materials for fighting global warming.

Michael Drummond and colleagues Angela Wilson and Tom Cundari said existing carbon-capture technologies are expensive and can generate hazardous waste. But they said proteins can catalyze reactions with carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in an environmentally friendly way.

In their study, the researchers said they used the pharmacophore concept to probe how the 3-dimensional structure of proteins affects their ability to bind and capture carbon dioxide. The German chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich, who originated the concept a century ago, defined a pharmacophore as the molecular framework that carries the key features responsible for a drug’s activity.

The scientists concluded that the approach could point the way to the development of next-generation carbon capture technologies.

Their research is reported in the American Chemical Society journal Energy & Fuels.

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