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Facilitated extracellular electron transfer of Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilm with in situ formed gold nanoparticles

Chen, Man, Zhou, Xiaofang, Liu, Xing, Zeng, Raymond Jianxiong, Zhang, Fang, Ye, Jie, Zhou, Shungui
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2018 v.108 pp. 20-26
Geobacter sulfurreducens, acetates, anodes, bioelectrochemistry, biofilm, biosensors, electricity generation, electron transfer, gold, microorganisms, mineralization, nanogold
The conductivity of a biofilm is the key factor for the high current density of a bioelectrochemical system (BES). Most previous works have focused on electrode modification, but, this only benefits the microorganisms that directly contact the electrode. The low conductivity of biofilm limits the current density of the BES. In this work, gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) were successfully fabricated in situ into a Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilm to increase the conductivity. 20 ppm NaAuCl4 (the precursor) was slowly dropped into the anode chamber at a rate of 1.3 mL/h in a continuous-flow three-electrode BES. The Au(III) was transformed to Au-NPs, which then precipitated in the biofilm via biological mineralization. The current density of the anode increased by 40%. Meanwhile, the removal percentage of the organic substrate (acetate) was enhanced 2.2 times, from 24.7% to 53.3%, after the in situ fabrication of Au-NPs. This method greatly lowered the charge transfer resistance of the anode and enhanced the anodic limiting current. Our results proved that the current density and organic removal rate of the G. sulfurreducens biofilm in the anode were effectively enhanced by in situ Au-NP fabrication. This work not only provides a simple and effective strategy for enhancing the electricity generation of BES with conductive NP fabrication, but also improves the understanding of the extracellular electron transfer (EET) of exoelectrogens.