03 April 2012
Plant Power: The Ultimate Way to 'Go Green'?
A press release by Science Newsline deals with novel strategies to facilitate light-driven synthesis of useful, high-value chemicals and biofuels. They refer to an article by PhD Kenneth Jensen, Prof. Poul Erik Jensen and Prof. Birger Lindberg Møller published in Trends in Plant Science which discusses innovative strategies for harnessing and re-routing the chemical reactions associated with photosynthesis to efficiently produce highly valuable products.
In the press release Prof. Lindberg Møller emphasizes that "plants are known to produce more than 200,000 often structurally complex bioactive natural products. Many of these are valuable to humans, for example as pharmaceuticals, but are present in very low amounts or are quite difficult to isolate."
One of the key focus areas for him and his colleague, Prof. Poul Erik Jensen is bioengineering of photosynthetic organisms towards a more efficient production of some of these high-value products. This is attempted using approaches for tapping directly into, and redirecting the utilization of, the reducing equivalents generated by the photosynthetic light reactions. Furthermore, entire pathways are optimized by changing the localization of enzymes, such as P450s, which are involved in the biosynthesis of these products. Redirecting the P450s to the chloroplasts where the photosynthesis takes place would ensure a direct transfer of the Solar energy and hence a tailored light-driven production system for compounds such as various pharmaceuticals.
For the full press release: