Towards an integrated system for bio-energy: hydrogen production by Escherichia coli and use of palladium-coated waste cells for electricity generation in a fuel cell.

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Escherichia coli strains MC4100 (parent) and a mutant strain derived from this (IC007) were evaluated for their ability to produce H2 and organic acids (OAs) via fermentation. Following growth, each strain was coated with Pd(0) via bioreduction of Pd(II). Dried, sintered Pd-biomaterials (‘Bio-Pd’) were tested as anodes in a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell for their ability to generate electricity from H2. Both strains produced hydrogen and OAs but ‘palladised’ cells of strain IC007 (Bio- PdIC007) produced *threefold more power as compared to Bio-PdMC4100 (56 and 18 mW respectively). The power output used, for comparison, commercial Pd(0) powder and Bio-Pd made from Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, was *100 mW. The implications of these findings for an integrated energy generating process are discussed.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010