Formate production through biocatalysis

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Abstract

The generation of formate from CO2 provides a method for sequestration of this greenhouse gas as well as the production of a valuable commodity chemical and stabilized form of hydrogen fuel. Formate dehydrogenases are enzymes with the potential to catalyze this reaction; however they generally favor the reverse process, i.e., formate oxidation. By contrast, the formate dehydrogenase of the acetogenClostridium carboxidivoranshas been found to preferentially catalyze the reduction of CO2. This is in accord with its natural role to introduce CO2 as a carbon source in the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. The direction of catalysis derives from the enzyme's low affinity for formate. This enzyme is therefore an excellent candidate for biotechnological applications aimed at producing formic acid and derivative chemicals from CO2.

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