This teaching module was originally presented by Donna Boggs, Ph.D at the Biomimicry Institute’s first Higher Education Webinar in January, 2011.
Abstract: The goal of this teaching module is to help students (in high school or an undergraduate non-majors biology course) get a sense of the importance of carbon dioxide in their own physiology and that of other living things; in biomineralization; in the global carbon cycle; global climate change, ocean acidification and the future of the planet.
To this end we start by looking at the origin, properties and transformations of CO2 in your own body. Then we review its transformations in photosynthesis and in the production of mineral carbonates of solid biological structures. The fact that CO2 forms an acid in aqueous solutions, the ubiquity and importance of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase in the fates of and controlled use of CO2, and the sequestration of CO2 in ‘rock’ are stressed as we turn to potential biomimetic solutions to the problems of capturing carbon dioxide from flue gas through the use of carbonic anhydrase in liquid membranes, and of sequestering the carbon dioxide released from power plants by using processes learned form studying biomineralization in corals.Edit Summary