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Biotechnol Adv. 2006 May-Jun;24(3):296-308. Epub 2006 Jan 5.

Challenges in biocatalysis for enzyme-based biofuel cells.

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  • 1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA.


Enzyme-based biofuel cells are attracting attention rapidly partially due to the promising advances reported recently. However, there are issues to be addressed before biofuel cells become competitive in practical applications. Two critical issues are short lifetime and poor power density, both of which are related to enzyme stability, electron transfer rate, and enzyme loading. Recent progress in nanobiocatalysis opens the possibility to improve in these aspects. Many nano-structured materials, such as mesoporous media, nanoparticles, nanofibers, and nanotubes, have been demonstrated as efficient hosts of enzyme immobilization. It is evident that, when nanostructure of conductive materials are used, the large surface area of these nanomaterials can increase the enzyme loading and facilitate reaction kinetics, and thus improving the power density of biofuel cells. In addition, research efforts have also been made to improve the activity and stability of immobilized enzymes by using nanostructures. It appears to be reasonable to us to expect that progress in nanostuctured biocatalysts will play a critical role in overcoming the major obstacles in the development of powerful biofuel cells.

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