Grant recipientHenrik Land says: “A major part of modern society relies on oil in order to function properly. It does not only serve as a fuel but also as raw material and carbon source to most of our important chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides. However, carbon dioxide is also a carbon source. It is available in vast amounts in Earth´s atmosphere and due to human intervention, there is even an excess to take from.
Biocatalytic fixation of carbon dioxide – Biodiversity and evolvability of present day carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and its ancestors
Grant amount: DKK 8,139,512
The goal of my research is to use enzymes, nature’s own catalysts, to transform this carbon dioxide into a useful form for making carbon-based chemicals. These enzymes have been modified by evolution over billions of years to perform specific tasks. I will calculate what the ancestors of these enzymes most likely looked like and then I will use directed evolution, a modified version of natural evolution to force these ancestors to evolve into something useful to mankind.
My new enzymes will then be able to fix carbon dioxide efficiently and take part in creating a sustainable society.”