Characterization of intracellular palladium nanoparticles synthesized by Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and Bacillus benzeovorans

  • Joe Wood (Creator)
  • Jacob Omajali (Creator)
  • Iryna Mikheenko (Creator)
  • Mohamed L. Merroun (Creator)
  • Lynne Macaskie (Creator)



Early studies have focused on the synthesis of palladium nanoparticles within the periplasmic layer or on the outer membrane of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and on the S-layer protein of Bacillus sphaericus. However, it has remained unclear whether the synthesis of palladium nanoparticles also takes place in the bacterial cell cytoplasm. This study reports the use of high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy with a high angle annular dark field detector and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry attachment to investigate the intracellular synthesis of palladium nanoparticles (Pd NPs). We show the intracellular synthesis of PdNPs within cells of two anaerobic strains of D. desulfuricans and an aerobic strain of B. benzeovorans using hydrogen and formate as electron donors. The Pd nanoparticles were small and largely monodispersed, between 0.2 and 8 nm, occasionally from 9 to 12 nm with occasional larger nanoparticles. With D. desulfuricans NCIMB 8307 (but not D. desulfuricans NCIMB 8326) and with B. benzeovorans NCIMB 12555, the NPs were larger when made at the expense of formate, co-localizing with phosphate in the latter, and were crystalline, but were amorphous when made with H2, with no phosphorus association. The intracellular Pd nanoparticles weremainly icosahedrons with surfaces comprising {111} facets and about 5 % distortion when compared with that of bulk palladium. The particles were more concentrated in the cell cytoplasm than the cell wall, outer membrane, or periplasm. We provide new evidence for synthesis of palladium nanoparticles within the cytoplasm of bacteria, which were confirmed to maintain cellular integrity during this synthesis.
Date made available2016
PublisherUniversity of Birmingham

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