A surface-display biohybrid approach to light-driven hydrogen production in air

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Science Advances  21 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, eaap9253
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9253

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Solar-to-chemical production by artificial and bioinspired photosynthetic systems is of tremendous interest to help solve current global energy and environmental problems. We developed a bioinorganic hybrid system for photocatalytic hydrogen production under aerobic conditions by combining light-harvesting semiconductors, hydrogenase catalysis, and self-aggregation of whole bacterial cells. We induced hydrogen production via self-photosynthesis in engineered Escherichia coli cells, which were originally designed for bioremediation, with in situ biosynthesis of biocompatible cadmium sulfide nanoparticles using a surface-display system. We also introduced a biomimetic silica encapsulation strategy into the engineered E. coli cells, enabling this hybrid system to continuously produce hydrogen for 96 hours, even under natural aerobic conditions. This biohybrid catalytic approach may serve as a general strategy for solar-to-chemical production.

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