Photocatalytic removal of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide by liposomal microreactors

Samuel E. H. Piper, Carla Casadevall, Erwin Reisner, Thomas A. Clarke, Lars J. C. Jeuken, Andrew J. Gates, Julea N. Butt (Lead Author)

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse and ozone-reactive gas for which emissions are growing rapidly due to increasingly intensive agriculture. Synthetic catalysts for N2O decomposition typically contain precious metals and/or operate at elevated temperatures driving a desire for more sustainable alternatives. Here we demonstrate self-assembly of liposomal microreactors enabling catalytic reduction of N2O to the climate neutral product N2. Photoexcitation of graphitic N-doped carbon dots delivers electrons to encapsulated N2O Reductase enzyme via a lipid-soluble biomolecular wire provided by the MtrCAB protein complex. Within the microreactor, electron transfer from MtrCAB to N2O Reductase is facilitated by the general redox mediator methyl viologen. The liposomal microreactors use only earth-abundant elements to catalyze N2O removal in ambient, aqueous conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202210572
JournalAngewandte Chemie-International Edition
Issue number41
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022


  • Carbon Dot
  • Enzyme Catalysis
  • Liposomes
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Photochemistry

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