Green Catalysts: Applied and Synthetic Photosynthesis
Teodor, Alexandra H.; Sherman, Benjamin D.; Ison, Zeah Yvette; Ooi, Eu-Jee; Bergkamp, Jesse J.; Bruce, Barry D.
The biological process of photosynthesis was critical in catalyzing the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere 2.5 billion years ago, changing the course of development of life on Earth. Recently, the fields of applied and synthetic photosynthesis have utilized the light-driven protein–pigment supercomplexes central to photosynthesis for the photocatalytic production of fuel and other various valuable products. The reaction center Photosystem I is of particular interest in applied photosynthesis due to its high stability post-purification, non-geopolitical limitation, and its ability to generate the greatest reducing power found in nature. These remarkable properties have been harnessed for the photocatalytic production of a number of valuable products in the applied photosynthesis research field. These primarily include photocurrents and molecular hydrogen as fuels. The use of artificial reaction centers to generate substrates and reducing equivalents to drive non-photoactive enzymes for valuable product generation has been a long-standing area of interest in the synthetic photosynthesis research field. In this review, we cover advances in these areas and further speculate synthetic and applied photosynthesis as photocatalysts for the generation of valuable products.