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Osaka researchers find formate dehydrogenase reduces CO2 directly to formic acid

Professor Yutaka Amao of the Osaka City University Artificial Photosynthesis Research Center and Ryohei Sato, a 1st year Ph.D. student of the Graduate School of Science, have shown that the catalyst formate dehydrogenase reduces carbon dioxide directly to formic acid. Their work, published in a paper in the RSC’s New Journal of Chemistry, points to a catalyst in developing and designing an artificial photosynthesis system that efficiently converts carbon dioxide into organic molecules.


The development of an effective catalyst is an important step in creating an artificial photosynthesis system that uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into organic molecules. Formate dehydrogenase (FDH) is a catalyst that accelerates the reaction of converting carbon dioxide into formic acid (hydrogen energy storage medium etc.) However, until now the details of how this happened were unclear. The research group dissolved FDH in a liquid solution and carbon dioxide was then blown into the solution for the reaction event.

In liquid, carbon dioxide exists in two additional forms other than itself— biocarbonate ion (HCO3-) and carbonate ion (CO3-). Until now, it was not known which of these three forms is reduced and converted into formic acid. By changing the amount of each type of carbon dioxide in the liquid solution and controlling them precisely the group found that carbon dioxide itself is directly reduced to formic acid after investigating their reaction with FDH.


© Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, Osaka City University


  • Ryohei Sato and Yutaka Amao (2020) “Can formate dehydrogenase from Candida boidinii catalytically reduce carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, or carbonate to formate?” New Journal of Chemistry doi: 10.1039/D0NJ01183E



Well done Ryohei Sato - not many 1st year PhDs get a mention in GCC!

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