Boosting the electrocatalytic activity of Desulfovibrio paquesii biocathodes with magnetite nanoparticles

Manuel A. Gacitúa, Bernardo González, Mauro Majone, Federico Aulenta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The production of reduced value-added chemicals and fuels using microorganisms as cheap cathodic electrocatalysts is recently attracting considerable attention. A robust and sustainable production is, however, still greatly hampered by a poor understanding of electron transfer mechanisms to microorganisms and the lack of strategies to improve and manipulate thereof. Here, we investigated the use of electrically-conductive magnetite (Fe 3O4) nanoparticles to improve the electrocatalytic activity of a H2-producing Desulfovibrio paquesii biocathode. Microbial biocathodes supplemented with a suspension of nanoparticles displayed increased H2 production rates and enhanced stability compared to unamended ones. Cyclic voltammetry confirmed that Faradaic currents involved in microbially-catalyzed H2 evolution were enhanced by the addition of the nanoparticles. Possibly, nanoparticles improve the extracellular electron path to the microorganisms by creating composite networks comprising of mineral particles and microbial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14540-14545
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number27
StatePublished - 12 Sep 2014


  • Desulfovibrio sp
  • Hydrogen generation
  • Magnetite nanoparticles
  • Microbial biocathode
  • Microbial electrolysis


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