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Biofilm-Templated Heteroatom-Doped Carbon–Palladium Nanocomposite Catalyst for Hexavalent Chromium Reduction

Ng, Chun Kiat, Karahan, H. Enis, Loo, Say Chye Joachim, Chen, Yuan, Cao, Bin
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2019 v.11 no.27 pp. 24018-24026
Shewanella oneidensis, aerobic conditions, ambient temperature, bacteria, bioengineering, biofilm, carbonization, catalysts, catalytic activity, cell membranes, chromium, metalloids, nanocomposites, nanocrystals, nanoparticles, palladium, pyrolysis, risk assessment
In this study, we report an interdisciplinary and novel strategy toward biofilm engineering for the development of a biofilm-templated heteroatom-doped catalytic system through bioreduction and biofilm matrix-facilitated immobilization of the in situ-formed catalytic nanoparticles followed by controlled pyrolysis. We showed that (i) even under room temperature and bulk aerobic conditions, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 biofilms reduced Pd(II) to form Pd(0) nanocrystals (∼10 to 20 nm) that were immobilized in the biofilm matrix and in cellular membranes, (ii) the MR-1 biofilms with the immobilized Pd(0) nanocrystals exhibited nanocatalytic activity, (iii) exposure to Pd(II) greatly increased the rate of cell detachment from the biofilm and posed a risk of biofilm dispersal, (iv) controlled pyrolysis (carbonization) of the biofilm led to the formation of a stable heteroatom-doped carbon–palladium (C–Pd) nanocomposite catalyst, and (v) the biofilm-templated C–Pd nanocomposite catalyst exhibited a high Cr(VI) reduction activity and maintained a high reduction rate over multiple catalytic cycles. Considering that bacteria are capable of synthesizing a wide range of metal and metalloid nanoparticles, the biofilm-templated approach for the fabrication of the catalytic C–Pd nanocomposite we have demonstrated here should prove to be widely applicable for the production of different nanocomposites that are of importance to various environmental applications.