Biorefining of platinum group metals from model waste solutions into catalytically active bimetallic nanoparticles

Angela J. Murray, Ju Zhu, Joe Wood, Lynne E. Macaskie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Bacteria can fabricate platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts cheaply, a key consideration of industrial processes and waste decontaminations. Biorecovery of PGMs from wastes is promising but PGM leachates made from metallic scraps are acidic. A two-step biosynthesis ‘pre-seeds’ metallic deposits onto bacterial cells benignly; chemical reduction of subsequent metal from acidic solution via the seeds makes bioscaffolded nanoparticles (NPs). Cells of Escherichia coli were seeded using Pd(II) or Pt(IV) and exposed to a mixed Pd(II)/Pt(IV) model solution under H2 to make bimetallic catalyst. Its catalytic activity was assessed in the reduction of Cr(VI), with 2 wt% or 5 wt% preloading of Pd giving the best catalytic activity, while 1 wt% seeds gave a poorer catalyst. Use of Pt seeds gave less effective catalyst in the final bimetallic catalyst, attributed to fewer and larger initial seeds as shown by electron microscopy, which also showed a different pattern of Pd and Pt deposition. Bimetallic catalyst (using cells preloaded with 2 wt% Pd) was used in the hydrogenation of soybean oil which was enhanced by ~fourfold using the bimetallic catalyst made from a model waste solution as compared to 2 wt% Pd preloaded cells alone, with a similar selectivity to cis C18:1 product as found using a Pd-Al2O3 commercial catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number2
Early online date28 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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