Volume 88 Issue 32 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 9, 2010

Nitrogenase Makes Hydrocarbons

Vanadium nitrogenase, which usually converts N2 to NH3, can also convert CO to ethylene, ethane, and propane
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: nitrogenase, nitrogen fixation, carbon monoxide, vanadium, molybdenum

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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