Foto: Xinhua

Converting CO2 into carbohydrates gives hope that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated and water and food shortages in developing countries can be reduced, said an expert and one of the participants of the Zhongguancun Forum, reports Xinhua.

Life science is rapidly evolving to be predictable, repeatable and controllable, providing an unprecedented knowledge environment for designing artificial biological systems and breaking the limits set by the forms and efficiency of using natural biological energy, said Ma Janhe, director of the Institute of Industrial Biotechnology ( TIB) Tianjin at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He gave a speech on the conversion and use of CO2 by industrial biotechnology at the Second Forum on Peaking Carbon Emissions and Achieving Neutrality, a major event held during the Zhongguancun Forum.

During 2021, a research team from TIB designed an artificial starch synthesis pathway consisting of only 11 key reactions, achieving a complete synthesis from CO2 to starch molecules for the first time in the laboratory.

Ma said that the new way of producing materials for the synthesis of bulk agricultural and petrochemical products with CO2 as raw material will cause profound social and economic changes.

This is also a promising way to mitigate climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution from fertilizers and pesticides, increase the world’s food production capacity and reduce water and food shortages in developing countries, he added.

He also mentioned the challenges facing synthesis technology. The energy conversion efficiency should be improved, the enzyme protein catalyst should be more stable, and the cost of the catalyst should be lower.

The industrialization of agriculture is an opportunity for a paradigm shift. The development of green energy has brought a strategic opportunity that can change the pattern of agriculture and industry, he said.

The second Forum on Peaking Emissions and Achieving Carbon Neutrality, jointly organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Technology, attracted around 400 participants and focused on energy development strategies, advanced nuclear power, new energy systems, renewable energy and storage energy, as well as reducing carbon emissions in industrial buildings and transport.

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