A photocatalytic H2production system using an inorganic–bio hybrid photocatalyst could contribute to the efficient utilization of solar energy, but would require the development of a new approach for preparing a H2-forming biocatalyst. In the present study, we constructed a recombinant strain of Escherichia coli expressing the genes encoding the [FeFe]-hydrogenase and relevant maturases from Clostridium acetobutylicum NBRC 13948 for use as a biocatalyst. We investigated the direct application of a whole-cell of the recombinant E. coli. The combination of TiO2, methylviologen, and the recombinant E. coli formed H2under light irradiation, demonstrating that whole cells of the recombinant E. coli could be employed for photocatalytic H2production without any time-consuming and costly manipulations (for example, enzyme purification). This is the first report of the direct application of a whole-cell reaction of recombinant E. coli to photocatalytic H2production.
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