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Biogenic synthesis and characterization of gold nanoparticles by Escherichia coli K12 and its heterogeneous catalysis in degradation of 4-nitrophenol

Sarvesh Kumar Srivastava1, Ryosuke Yamada2, Chiaki Ogino1 and Akihiko Kondo1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodai-cho, 657-8501, Nada, Kobe, Japan

2 Organization of Advanced Science and Technology, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodai-cho, 657-8501, Nada, Kobe, Japan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:70  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-70

Published: 12 February 2013


Room-temperature extracellular biosynthesis of gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) was achieved using Escherichia coli K12 cells without the addition of growth media, pH adjustments or inclusion of electron donors/stabilizing agents. The resulting nanoparticles were analysed by ultraviolet–visible (UV–vis) spectrophotometry, atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Highly dispersed gold nanoplates were achieved in the order of around 50 nm. Further, the underlying mechanism was found to be controlled by certain extracellular membrane-bound proteins, which was confirmed by Fourier transformation-infrared spectroscopy and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. We observed that certain membrane-bound peptides are responsible for reduction and subsequent stabilization of Au NPs (confirmed by zeta potential analysis). Upon de-activation of these proteins, no nanoparticle formation was observed. Also, we prepared a novel biocatalyst with Au NPs attached to the membrane-bound fraction of E. coli K12 cells serving as an efficient heterogeneous catalyst in complete reduction of 4-nitrophenol in the presence of NaBH4 which was studied with UV–vis spectroscopy. This is the first report on bacterial membrane-Au NP nanobiocomposite serving as an efficient heterogeneous catalyst in complete reduction of nitroaromatic pollutant in water.

Gold nanoparticles; Extracellular biosynthesis; Green catalysis; Escherichia coli; Nitrophenol degradation; Water treatment