Microbiologists added to microdroplets of water in oil thylakoid from the chloroplast of living cells and enzymes artificial cycle of carbon fixation. The result was to create a synthetic chloroplasts the size of a cage that effectively synthesize biological building blocks (glycolic acid) from atmospheric carbon dioxide using light energy. Article published in the journal Science.
Using nanobiotechnology scientists create artificial systems that perform some of the functions of living cells: microcompartment that catch the light, are responsible for cycles of transcription, translation and complex metabolic chain. However, combining these individual modules in an integrated system remains a challenge: for example, still failed to fully recreate the function of chloroplasts in a single unit.
In chloroplasts there are two main processes: the capture of light by chlorophyll and the synthesis of organic substances from carbon dioxide. In the first stage with membrane structures of tylecodon (compartments of chloroplasts) is the energy stored in the chemical bonds of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH a). The second stage is a complex biochemical cycle in which energy of ATP and NADPH consumed.
Microbiologists from Germany and France under the leadership of Tobias ERB (Tobias Erb) from the Institute for terrestrial Microbiology, max Planck Society has created a system that combines natural and synthetic parts and performs the functions of chloroplast. For starters, scientists have identified thylakoid from chloroplasts of spinach (Spinacia oleracea), put them in microdroplets of water in oil diameter of 92 microns and was convinced that in the light, this system produces ATP and NADPH. To measure the change in concentration of NADPH, observed natural fluorescence of these molecules.