Il molecular engine is a macromolecule (usually protein) capable of converting chemical energy into mechanical force and movement.
"The energy conversion efficiency of the rotating molecular motor is much higher than that of man-made motors". It is theaffirmation border made by Ryota Iino, author of the paper and researcher at the Institute of Molecular Sciences of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences.
“The conversion of energy through a rotating molecular motor is reversible. If we fully understand the mechanism, in the future we will lead to the creation of highly efficient engines made by us. "
In their study on the molecular engine, the researchers used a probe made with a gold nanoparticle to observe a single molecule of the bacterium Enterococcus hirae. They tried to determine how its motor rotated for different sections - what they found was that the molecular pump had to take a little extra energy to transport the ions against the boundary of the bacterial membrane.
How does the molecular engine work?
"We started by working to understand how chemical energy is converted into the mechanical rotation of the V1 engine"he said Iino. "We found that while V1's three-dimensional structures and related rotating motors are similar, their chemical and mechanical coupling mechanisms are very different."
It turned out that the V1 engine forms a complex with another rotary engine called Vo. These motors could then pump sodium ions across the cell membrane creating energy in the process.
Just like eels
"Next, we would like to understand exactly how the engine's energy conversion mechanism works"said Iino. This is important because it is similar to the way electric eels produce their electricity from chemical energy.
"If we fully understand this mechanism of the molecular engine, it will be possible to develop a battery capable of converting energy into a plant similar to an artificial" electric eel ", or even drawing it from a human being." Maybe to feed one of the many nanorobots that will travel through our body to seek disease or to distribute treatment.
Lo study is published in Journal of Biological Chemistry.