Photosynthesis: The Emergence And Early Evolution Of Biological Carbon Fixation.

1097 words - 4 pages

As the world’s population increases, availing adequate food for the population will be a challenge due to need to improve crop cultivation, production of fertilizer, and agricultural yields (Berg et al, 2010). However, carbon fixation is an essential limitation that affects crop yields because plants rely on converting carbon (IV) oxide into biologically functional molecules (Berg et al, 2010). Through various carbon fixation pathways, green plants, algae, and certain bacteria are able to convert inorganic carbon into organic compounds useful to all living organisms on earth (Aresta and Wiley, 2010).
Photosynthesis is the main means green plants use to fix carbon dioxide in the environment, but it is unfortunate that it seldom suffices the carbon needs of living organisms.
Results and Evidence
However, scholars have discovered various pathways of carbon fixation in green plants, and intensified scientific research on bacteria and other living organisms. Since carbon fixation also occurs in certain bacteria and archaea, several experiments were conducted to establish a practical biological progression of carbon fixation, which led to discovery of Acetyl-CoA pathway (Lengeler, Drews and Schlegel, 1999). This is a pathway common among bacteria and archaea, and in this non-cyclic pathway, hydrogen is utilized as an electron donor while carbon dioxide remains an electron receiver (Lengeler, Drews and Schlegel, 1999). When carbon dioxide receives an electron, it is reduced to carbon monoxide and finally to acetyl-CoA (Aresta and Wiley, 2010). This process is catalyzed by two enzymes CO Dehydrogenese and acetyl-CoA synthase with the former converting carbon dioxide to CO while the latter combining CO with methyl group to produce acetyl CoA (Lengeler, Drews and Schlegel, 1999).
A practical biochemical progression of carbon fixation is the process of Acetogenesis and the Wood-Ljungdahl Pathway of CO2 Fixation (Pierce et al, 2008). The pathway is a type of systematic process and involved a biochemical condensation of carbon units into carbon compounds, which intrigued many scientists in the world (Braakman and Smith, 2012).
Acetogens are anaerobic bacteria that utilize the Wood Ljungdahl Pathway as the main mechanism for conversion to acetyl-CoA and cell carbon from carbon dioxide, and conservation of energy (Braakman and Smith, 2012). The acetogens are unique for their production of acetate, a carbon dioxide reducing fermentation product to facilitate the process of carbon fixation.
Progression of this biochemical process began with the scientific discovery of a bacterium, clostridium aceticum, which scientists claimed grew by transforming carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas into acetic acid. However, loss of this bacterium was replaced by Clostridium thermoacetica, which became the model bacterium for further research (Pierce et al, 2008). However, the discovery of homoacetogenic fermentation of glucose encouraged...

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