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Science. 2016 Jan 1;351(6268):74-7. doi: 10.1126/science.aad3317.

Self-photosensitization of nonphotosynthetic bacteria for solar-to-chemical production.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
2
Department of Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

Improving natural photosynthesis can enable the sustainable production of chemicals. However, neither purely artificial nor purely biological approaches seem poised to realize the potential of solar-to-chemical synthesis. We developed a hybrid approach, whereby we combined the highly efficient light harvesting of inorganic semiconductors with the high specificity, low cost, and self-replication and -repair of biocatalysts. We induced the self-photosensitization of a nonphotosynthetic bacterium, Moorella thermoacetica, with cadmium sulfide nanoparticles, enabling the photosynthesis of acetic acid from carbon dioxide. Biologically precipitated cadmium sulfide nanoparticles served as the light harvester to sustain cellular metabolism. This self-augmented biological system selectively produced acetic acid continuously over several days of light-dark cycles at relatively high quantum yields, demonstrating a self-replicating route toward solar-to-chemical carbon dioxide reduction.

PMID:
26721997
DOI:
10.1126/science.aad3317
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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