An inorganic-biological hybrid system that integrates features of both stable and efficient semiconductors and selective and efficient enzymes is attractive for facilitating the conversion of solar energy to hydrogen. In this study, we aimed to develop a new photocatalytic hydrogen-production system based on Escherichia coli whole-cell genetically engineered as a biocatalysis for highly active hydrogen formation. The photocatalysis part was obtained by bacterial precipitation of cadmium sulfide (CdS), which is a visible-light-responsive semiconductor. The recombinant E. coli cells were sequentially subjected to CdS precipitation and heterologous [FeFe]-hydrogenase synthesis to yield a CdS@E. coli hybrid capable of light energy conversion and hydrogen formation in a single cell. The CdS@E. coli hybrid achieved photocatalytic hydrogen production with a sacrificial electron donor, thus demonstrating the feasibility of our system and expanding the current knowledge of photosensitization using a whole-cell biocatalyst with a bacterially precipitated semiconductor.
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