Photo-switchable Microbial Fuel-Cells Academic Article uri icon


  • Regulation of Biosystems in a clean, simple and efficient way is important for the design of smart bio-interfaces and bioelecronic devices. Light as a non-invasive mean to control the activity of a protein enables spatial and temporal control far superior to other chemical and physical methods. The ability to regulate the activity of a catalytic enzyme in a biofuel-cell reduces the waste of resources and energy and turns the fuel-cell into a smart and more efficient device for power generation. Here we present a microbial-fuel-cell based on a surface displayed, photo-switchable alcohol dehydrogenase. The enzyme was modified near the active site using non-canonical amino acids and a small photo-reactive molecule, which enables reversible control over enzymatic activity. Depending on the modification site, the enzyme exhibits reversible behaviour upon irradiation with UV and visible light, in both biochemical and electrochemical assays. The change observed in power output in a microbial fuel cell utilizing the modified enzyme was almost 5-fold, between inactive and active states. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

publication date

  • February 7, 2018