An industrial process for the selective activation of methane under mild conditions would be highly valuable for controlling emissions to the environment and for utilizing vast new sources of natural gas. The only selective catalysts for methane activation and conversion to methanol under mild conditions are methane monooxygenases (MMOs) found in methanotrophic bacteria; however, these enzymes are not amenable to standard enzyme immobilization approaches. Using particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), we create a biocatalytic polymer material that converts methane to methanol. We demonstrate embedding the material within a silicone lattice to create mechanically robust, gas-permeable membranes, and direct printing of micron-scale structures with controlled geometry. Remarkably, the enzymes retain up to 100% activity in the polymer construct. The printed enzyme-embedded polymer motif is highly flexible for future development and should be useful in a wide range of applications, especially those involving gas-liquid reactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)