MIT's Belcher uses engineered virus to split water

Angela Belcher and team at MIT have tweaked a bacterial virus to serve as a scaffolding to:

attract and bind with molecules of a catalyst (the team used iridium oxide) and a biological pigment (zinc porphyrins). The viruses became wire-like devices that could very efficiently split the oxygen from water molecules.

Belcher says that

within two years she expects to have a prototype device that can carry out the whole process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, using a self-sustaining and durable system.

This is just a very early taste of what we can expect someday from more extensively designed molecular machine systems.  —Chris Peterson

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