Issue Date: August 9, 2010
Nitrogenase Makes Hydrocarbons
Vanadium nitrogenase, which catalyzes the conversion of nitrogen to ammonia, can also reduce carbon monoxide to form ethylene, ethane, and propane, report Chi Chung Lee, Yilin Hu, and Markus W. Ribbe of the University of California, Irvine (Science 2010, 329, 642). Nitrogenase enzymes are produced by certain species of bacteria and allow the microbes to grow with only N2 as a nitrogen source; the enzymes can have different metal-based cofactors, depending on what’s . . .
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