Biomanufacture of nano-Pd(0) by Escherichia coli and electrochemical activity of bio-Pd(0) made at the expense of H2 and formate as electron donors

J. Courtney, K. Deplanche, N. V. Rees, L. E. Macaskie

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Objective: Palladised cells of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and Shewanella oneidensis have been reported as fuel cell electrocatalysts but growth at scale may be unattractive/costly; we have evaluated the potential of using E. coli, using H2/formate for Pd-nanoparticle manufacture.

Results: Using ‘bio-Pd’ made under H2 (20 wt%) cyclic voltammograms suggested electrochemical activity of bio-NPs in a native state, attributed to proton adsorption/desorption. Bio-Pd prepared using formate as the electron donor gave smaller, well separated NPs; this material showed no electrochemical properties, and hence little potential for fuel cell use using a simple preparation technique. Bio-Pd on S. oneidensis gave similar results to those obtained using E. coli.

Conclusion: Bio-Pd is sufficiently conductive to make an E. coli-derived electrochemically active material on intact, unprocessed bacterial cells if prepared at the expense of H2, showing potential for fuel cell applications using a simple one-step preparation method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1903–1910
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number11
Early online date8 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Bio-Pd
  • E. coli
  • Electrochemical activity
  • Fuel cell
  • Hydrogen production
  • Palladium

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