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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Jul 14;126(27):8368-9.

A four-electron O(2)-electroreduction biocatalyst superior to platinum and a biofuel cell operating at 0.88 V.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Texas Materials Institute, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


O2 was electroreduced to water, at a true-surface-area-based current density of 0.5 mA cm-2, at 37 degrees C and at pH 5 on a "wired" laccase bioelectrocatalyst-coated carbon fiber cathode. The polarization (potential vs the reversible potential of the O2 /H2O half-cell in the same electrolyte) of the cathode was only -0.07 V, approximately one-fifth of the -0.37 V polarization of a smooth platinum fiber cathode, operating in its optimal electrolyte, 0.5 M H2SO4. The bioelectrocatalyst was formed by "wiring" laccase to carbon through an electron conducting redox hydrogel, its redox functions tethered through long and flexible spacers to its cross-linked and hydrated polymer. Incorporation of the tethers increased the apparent electron diffusion coefficient 100-fold to (7.6 +/- 0.3) x 10-7 cm 2 s-1. A miniature single-compartment glucose-O2 biofuel cell made with the novel cathode operated optimally at 0.88 V, the highest operating voltage for a compartmentless miniature fuel cell.

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