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Chem Soc Rev. 2009 Jan;38(1):36-51. doi: 10.1039/b801144n. Epub 2008 Dec 1.

Dynamic electrochemical investigations of hydrogen oxidation and production by enzymes and implications for future technology.

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Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK OX1 3QR.


This tutorial review describes studies of hydrogen production and oxidation by biological catalysts--metalloenzymes known as hydrogenases--attached to electrodes. It explains how the electrocatalytic properties of hydrogenases are studied using specialised electrochemical techniques and how the data are interpreted to allow assessments of catalytic rates and performance under different conditions, including the presence of O2, CO and H2S. It concludes by drawing some comparisons between the enzyme active sites and platinum catalysts and describing some novel proof-of-concept applications that demonstrate the high activities and selectivities of these 'alternative' catalysts for promoting H2 as a fuel.

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