Scientists figured out how to procure synthetic starch from carbon dioxide

Oct 08, 2021 | Shaoni Ghosh

Scientists figured out how to procure synthetic starch from carbon dioxide title banner

Chinese scientists have discovered a way of producing synthetic starch out of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) without the need of plants, and if they can facilitate the efficiency, though that has not been able to emerge from obscurity, and the procedure can come into action, it may actually feed the globe while also ensuring environmental sustainability. 

(Recommended Blog: Maintaining environmental sustainability through Electric Vehicles)


Starch, which is the building block of proteins, is a form of carbohydrate that may be found in a variety of foods, such as maize, potatoes, and rice. 


Starch, one of the significant polysaccharides, is an amalgamation of amylose (15-20%) and amylopectin (80-85%). It is stored as a reserve food in tuber, seeds as well as roots.


It is not at all soluble in cold water and therefore, if it is heated in the form of a suspension in water, it immediately condenses into a sticky milk-like solution. And when it is cooled, it stiffens and converts into a jelly-like substance.


Photosynthesis converts Carbon dioxide and water into energy, which is used by these plants to produce starch. Starch is synthesized from energy that is not utilized straight away. This is why the procedure matters magnificently. 


Aside from its usage in food, starch has a variety of additional purposes, including manufacturing of paper, medicine production, and more. 


The Conversion


As FreeThink reports, the scientists have generated a method in order to let CO2 undergo a conversion into starch in a bioreactor. And the process proves to be 8.5 quicker as compared to procuration of starch from corn. 


Cai Tao stated that they simply want a few hours in the laboratory to perform and execute the process that the plants usually require a few months to complete. 


Synthetic starch extraction is quicker, but it is inefficient when it comes to energy consumption. The first stage alone, converting Carbon dioxide to methyl alcohol, necessitates high temperatures and pressures, as well as a significant amount of energy (probably from fossil resources). 


(Must Check: Applications of AI in the Chemical field)


The experts may now work towards making the synthetic starch process easier and more efficient as they know how to make it. 


Ma Yanhe, the corresponding author, told CCTV that the process is still in the lab experimental phase, and that he predicts there will be greater scientific difficulties in the upcoming days. 


Ma Yanhe also stated that if the process can be industrialized in real life, it will definitely give substantial assistance for food and nutrition security, utilization of carbon dioxide, and carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals.

Tags #Technology