Chinese scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough in the artificial synthesis of hexoses from carbon dioxide (CO2) in a laboratory setting, marking a crucial advancement in the global pursuit of synthetic sugar production.
The pioneering approach, a collaborative effort between the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, both affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been detailed in a recent study. Published on the Science Bulletin website and reported by state news agency Xinhua, the research outlines a novel methodology for creating synthetic “CO2-sugar” platforms.
The development of such platforms is seen as a strategic response to the challenges posed by dwindling land resources and the impact of climate change on the traditional supply of dietary sugars. The research team stated that their approach involves a versatile chemoenzymatic roadmap, leveraging aldol condensation, iso/epimerization, and dephosphorylation reactions to achieve precise and asymmetric assembly of sugars from CO2 and H2.
In comparison to the conventional “CO2-bioresource-sugar” process, this chemical-biological platform exhibited a superior carbon conversion yield. Furthermore, the researchers highlighted its potential to extend the synthesis to other complex sugars, indicating a promising avenue for the sustainable production of high-order sugars from CO2.
This achievement follows a previous milestone from the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, where researchers successfully developed an artificial method for synthesizing starch from carbon dioxide two years ago. The current advancement paves the way for further innovation in sustainable sugar production and offers a glimpse into a more environmentally conscious future.