Extracellular palladium nanoparticle production using geobacter sulfurreducens

Matthew D. Yates, Roland D. Cusick, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustainable methods are needed to recycle precious metals and synthesize catalytic nanoparticles. Palladium nanoparticles can be produced via microbial reduction of soluble Pd(II) to Pd(0), but in previous tests using dissimilatory metal reducing bacteria (DMRB), the nanoparticles were closely associated with the cells, occupying potential reductive sites and eliminating the potential for cell reuse. The DMRB Geobacter sulfurreducens was shown here to reduce soluble Pd(II) to Pd(0) nanoparticles primarily outside the cell, reducing the toxicity of metal ions, and allowing nanoparticle recovery without cell destruction that has previously been observed using other microorganisms. Cultures reduced 50 ± 3 mg/L Pd(II) with 1% hydrogen gas (v/v headspace) in 6 h incubation tests [100 mg/L Pd(II) initially], compared to 8 ± 3 mg/L (10 mM acetate) without H2. Acetate was ineffective as an electron donor for palladium removal in the presence or absence of fumarate as an electron acceptor. TEM imaging verified that Pd(0) nanoparticles were predominantly in the EPS surrounding cells in H2-fed cultures, with only a small number of particles visible inside the cell. Separation of the cells and EPS by centrifugation allowed reuse of the cell suspensions and effective nanoparticle recovery. These results demonstrate effective palladium recovery and nanoparticle production using G. sulfurreducens cell suspensions and renewable substrates such as H2 gas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1171
Number of pages7
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 3 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosynthesis
  • Geobacter
  • Nanoparticles
  • Sustainable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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