Nuclear Waste and Biocatalysis: A Sustainable Liaison?

Wuyuan Zhang, Huanhuan Liu, Morten M.C.H. Van Schie, Peter Leon Hagedoorn, Miguel Alcalde, Antonia G. Denkova, Kristina Djanashvili, Frank Hollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


It is well-known that energy-rich radiation induces water splitting, eventually yielding hydrogen peroxide. Synthetic applications, however, are scarce and to the best of our knowledge, the combination of radioactivity with enzyme-catalysis has not been considered yet. Peroxygenases utilize H2O2 as an oxidant to promote highly selective oxyfunctionalization reactions but are also irreversibly inactivated in the presence of too high H2O2 concentrations. Therefore, there is a need for efficient in situ H2O2 generation methods. Here, we show that radiolytic water splitting can be used to promote specific biocatalytic oxyfunctionalization reactions. Parameters influencing the efficiency of the reaction and current limitations are shown. Particularly, oxidative inactivation of the biocatalyst by hydroxyl radicals influences the robustness of the overall reaction. Radical scavengers can alleviate this issue, but eventually, physical separation of the enzymes from the ionizing radiation will be necessary to achieve robust reaction schemes. We demonstrate that nuclear waste can also be used to drive selective, peroxygenase-catalyzed oxyfunctionalization reactions, challenging our view on nuclear waste in terms of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14195-14200
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • biocatalysis
  • oxyfunctionalization
  • peroxygenases
  • radiation
  • sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Nuclear Waste and Biocatalysis: A Sustainable Liaison?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this