Science (New York, N.Y.)

Direct and reversible hydrogenation of CO2 to formate by a bacterial carbon dioxide reductase.

PMID 24337298


Storage and transportation of hydrogen is a major obstacle for its use as a fuel. An increasingly considered alternative for the direct handling of hydrogen is to use carbon dioxide (CO2) as an intermediate storage material. However, CO2 is thermodynamically stable, and developed chemical catalysts often require high temperatures, pressures, and/or additives for high catalytic rates. Here, we present the discovery of a bacterial hydrogen-dependent carbon dioxide reductase from Acetobacterium woodii directly catalyzing the hydrogenation of CO2. We also demonstrate a whole-cell system able to produce formate as the sole end product from dihydrogen (H2) and CO2 as well as syngas. This discovery opens biotechnological alternatives for efficient CO2 hydrogenation either by using the isolated enzyme or by employing whole-cell catalysis.