Selective hydrogenation catalyst made via heat-processing of biogenic Pd nanoparticles and novel ‘green’ catalyst for Heck coupling using waste sulfidogenic bacteria

Iryna P. Mikheenko, James A. Bennett, Jacob B. Omajali, Marc Walker, D. Barrie Johnson, Barry M. Grail, David Wong-Pascua, Jonathan D. Moseley, Lynne E. Macaskie

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    A heterogeneous Pd catalyst, biologically-mineralized palladium nanoparticles (bio-Pd), was synthesized using sulfidogenic bacteria which reduced soluble Pd(II) to catalytically-active Pd-nanoparticles (NPs). Heat treatment (processing) of bio-Pd (5 or 20 wt% on the cells) made by Desulfovibrio desulfuricans evolved supported Pd-catalyst comprising Pd-NPs held on large spherical hollow structures. The rate of hydrogenation of 2-butyne-1,4-diol was ~5-fold slower than for a commercial catalyst (~twice that of native bio-Pd), but with high selectivity to the alkene, fulfilling a key industrial criterion. In the Heck reaction, while bio-Pd showed a comparable reaction rate in ethyl cinnamate synthesis to that achieved by commercial Pd/C, heat-treated bio-Pd had negligible activity. D. desulfuricans bio-Pd was replaced by bio-Pd made using a consortium of waste acidophilic sulfidogenic bacteria (CAS) supplied from an unrelated primary remediation process. This gave comparable activity to commercial 5 wt% Pd/C in ethyl cinnamate synthesis, signposting an economic, scalable route to catalyst manufacture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number121059
    Number of pages15
    JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
    Early online date4 Jan 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2022

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    This work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council , UK (Grant no. BB/C516128/1 ), a Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council, UK Pathfinder Award and Natural Environment Research Council , UK (Grant No NE/L014076/1 ) to LEM. The authors wish to thank Dr J. Gomez-Bolivar for useful discussions. They also declare no conflicts of interest.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 Elsevier B.V.


    • Efficient hydrogenation
    • Green chemistry
    • Heck synthesis
    • Palladium nanoparticle catalyst
    • Waste upvalorization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Catalysis
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Process Chemistry and Technology


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