The aggregation behavior of 9, 36, and 112 nm hematite particles was studied in the presence of OmcA, a bacterial extracellular protein, in aqueous dispersions at pH 5.7 through time-resolved dynamic light scattering, electrophoretic mobility, and circular dichroism spectra, respectively. At low salt concentration, the attachment efficiencies of hematite particles in all sizes first increased, then decreased, and finally remained stable with the increase of OmcA concentration, indicating the dominant interparticle interaction changed along with the increase in the protein-to-particle ratio. Nevertheless, at high salt concentration, the attachment efficiencies of all hematite samples gradually decreased with increasing OmcA concentration, which can be attributed to increasing steric force. Additionally, the aggregation behavior of OmcA–hematite conjugates was more correlated to total particle–surface area than primary particle size. It was further established that OmcA could stabilize hematite nanoparticles more efficiently than bovine serum albumin (BSA), a model plasma protein, due to the higher affinity of OmcA to hematite surface. This study highlighted the effects of particle properties, solution conditions, and protein properties on the complicated aggregation behavior of protein–nanoparticle conjugates in aqueous environments.
Electrons can be transferred from microorganisms to multivalent metal ions that are associated with minerals and vice versa. As the microbial cell envelope is neither physically permeable to minerals nor electrically conductive, microorganisms have evolved strategies to exchange electrons with extracellular minerals. In this Review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms that underlie the ability of microorganisms to exchange electrons, such as c-type cytochromes and microbial nanowires, with extracellular minerals and with microorganisms of the same or different species. Microorganisms that have extracellular electron transfer capability can be used for biotechnological applications, including bioremediation, biomining and the production of biofuels and nanomaterials.
The initial aggregation kinetics of hematite nanoparticles (NPs) that were conjugated with two model globular proteins—cytochrome c from bovine heart (Cyt) and bovine serum albumin (BSA)—were investigated over a range of monovalent (NaCl) and divalent (CaCl2) electrolyte concentrations at pH 5.7 and 9. The aggregation behavior of Cyt-NP conjugates was similar to that of bare hematite NPs, but the additional electrosteric repulsion increased the critical coagulation concentration (CCC) values from 69 mM to 113 mM in NaCl at pH 5.7. An unsaturated layer of BSA, a protein larger than Cyt, on hematite NPs resulted in fast aggregation at low salt concentrations and pH 5.7, due to the strong attractive patch-charge interaction. However, the BSA-NP conjugates could be stabilized simply by elevating salt concentrations, owing to the screening of the attractive patch-charge force and the increasing contribution from steric force. This study showed that the aggregation state of protein-conjugated NPs is proved to be completely switchable via ionic strength, pH, protein size, and protein coverage. Macroscopic Cu(II) sorption experiments further established that reducing aggregation of hematite NPs via tailoring ionic strength and protein conjugation could promote the metal uptake by hematite NPs under harsh conditions.
Aggregation of nanoparticles impacts their reactivity, stability, transport, and fate in aqueous environments, but limited methods are available to characterize structural features and movement of aggregates in liquid. Here, liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (LCTEM) was utilized to directly observe the size, morphology, and motion of aggregates that were composed of 9 and 36 nm hematite nanoparticles, respectively, in water or NaCl solution. When mass concentrations were same, the aggregates of 9 nm nanoparticles were statistically more compact and slightly larger than those of 36 nm nanoparticles. Aggregates in both samples were typically nonspherical. Increasing ionic strength resulted in larger aggregates, and also enhanced the stability of aggregates under electron-beam irradiation. In water, small aggregates moved randomly and approached repeatedly to large aggregates before final attachment. In NaCl solution, small aggregates moved directly toward large aggregates and attached to the latter quickly. This observation provided a direct confirmation of the DLVO theory that the energy barrier to aggregation is higher in water than in salt solutions. This study not only presented the influences of particle size and ionic strength on aggregation state, but also demonstrated that LCTEM is a promising method to link aggregation state to dynamic processes of nanoparticles.
The cycling of iron at the Earth’s near surface is profoundly influenced by dissimilatory metal reducing microorganisms, and many studies have focused on unraveling electron transfer mechanisms between these bacteria and Fe(III)-(oxyhydr)oxides. However, these efforts have been complicated by the fact that these minerals often occur in the micro- to nanosize regime, and in relevant natural environments as well as in the laboratory are subject to aggregation. The nature of the physical interface between the cellular envelope, the outer-membrane cytochromesresponsible for facilitating the interfacial electron transfer step, and these complex mineral particulates is thus difficult to probe. Previous studies using whole cells have reported reduction rates that do not correlate with particle size. In the present study we isolate the interaction between the decaheme outer-membrane cytochrome OmcA of Shewanella oneidensisand nanoparticulate hematite, examining the reduction rate as a function of particle size and reaction products through detailed characterization of the electron balance and the structure and valence of iron at particle surfaces. By comparison with abiotic reduction via the smaller molecule ascorbic acid, we show that the reduction rate is systematically controlled by the sterically accessible interfacial contact area between OmcA and hematite in particle aggregates; rates increase once pore throat sizes in aggregates become as large as OmcA. Simultaneous measure of OmcA oxidation against Fe(II) release shows a ratio of 1:10, consistent with a cascade OmcA oxidation mechanism heme by heme. X-rayabsorption spectroscopies reveal incipient magnetite on the reacted surfaces of the hematite nanoparticles after reaction. The collective findings establish the importance of accessibility of physical contact between the terminal reductases and iron oxide surfaces, and through apparent consistency of observations help reconcile behavior reported at the larger more complex scale of whole cell studies.
In this work, we present a facile, low-cost, and effective approach to fabricate the UV photodetector with a CuI/ZnO double-shell nanostructure which was grown on common copper microwire. The enhanced performances of Cu/CuI/ZnO core/double-shell microwire photodetector resulted from the formation of heterojunction. Benefiting from the piezo-phototronic effect, the presentation of piezocharges can lower the barrier height and facilitate the charge transport across heterojunction. The photosensing abilities of the Cu/CuI/ZnO core/double-shell microwire detector are investigated under different UV light densities and strain conditions. We demonstrate the I-V characteristic of the as-prepared core/double-shell device; it is quite sensitive to applied strain, which indicates that the piezo-phototronic effect plays an essential role in facilitating charge carrier transport across the CuI/ZnO heterojunction, then the performance of the device is further boosted under external strain.
Present and emerging biotechnological applications for iron (oxyhydr)oxide nanomaterials depend on their interaction with microorganisms, as do their toxicity, transport, and fate in biological and environmental systems. However, mass or electron transfer along key molecular pathways at microbe–nanomaterial interfaces is extremely difficult to quantify because of system complexity. Inspired by Fe(II)-oxidizing microbes widespread in nature, we isolate and characterize one such pathway by examining the oxidation of Fe3–xTixO4 (magnetite-titanomagnetite) nanoparticles by the bacterial electron transfer enzyme MtoA, a decaheme c-type cytochrome. Oxidation by MtoA was studied as a function of the thermodynamic driving force for electron transfer by controlling the Ti(IV) doping content (x), which tunes the solid-state Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratio built into the nanoparticles. A higher Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratio appears to systematically increase the electron transfer kinetics to the cytochrome. In situ X-ray diffraction indicated that, during oxidation, the spinel ferrite lattice remains intact while structural Fe(II) is progressively depleted. Surface and atomic site specific Fe L2,3-edge X-ray magnetic circular dichroism indicated that MtoA directly accesses magnetically ordered B-sublattice Fe(II) at the interface. This study provides the first quantitative insights into an isolated molecular pathway for biotransformation of iron (oxyhydr)oxide nanomaterials, and more generally, it also illustrates new techniques for probing these pathways in detail, featuring use of tailored nanoparticles, purified metalloenzyme, and synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopies.
The Gram-negative bacterium Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1 (ES-1) grows on FeCO3 or FeS at oxic–anoxic interfaces at circumneutral pH, and the ES-1-mediated Fe(II) oxidation occurs extracellularly. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying ES-1’s ability to oxidize Fe(II) remain unknown. Survey of the ES-1 genome for candidate genes for microbial extracellular Fe(II) oxidation revealed that it contained a three-gene cluster encoding homologs of Shewanella oneidensisMR-1 (MR-1) MtrA, MtrB, and CymA that are involved in extracellular Fe(III) reduction. Homologs of MtrA and MtrB were also previously shown to be involved in extracellular Fe(II) oxidation by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. To distinguish them from those found in MR-1, the identified homologs were named MtoAB and CymAES-1. Cloned mtoA partially complemented an MR-1 mutant without MtrA with regards to ferrihydrite reduction. Characterization of purified MtoA showed that it was a decaheme c-type cytochrome and oxidized soluble Fe(II). Oxidation of Fe(II) by MtoA was pH- and Fe(II)-complexing ligand-dependent. Under conditions tested, MtoA oxidized Fe(II) from pH 7 to pH 9 with the optimal rate at pH 9. MtoA oxidized Fe(II) complexed with different ligands at different rates. The reaction rates followed the order Fe(II)Cl2 > Fe(II)–citrate > Fe(II)–NTA > Fe(II)–EDTA with the second-order rate constants ranging from 6.3 × 10−3 μM−1s−1 for oxidation of Fe(II)Cl2 to 1.0 × 10−3 μM−1 s−1 for oxidation of Fe(II)–EDTA. Thermodynamic modeling showed that redox reaction rates for the different Fe(II)-complexes correlated with their respective estimated reaction-free energies. Collectively, these results demonstrate that MtoA is a functional Fe(II)-oxidizing protein that, by working in concert with MtoB and CymAES-1, may oxidize Fe(II) at the bacterial surface and transfer released electrons across the bacterial cell envelope to the quinone pool in the inner membrane during extracellular Fe(II) oxidation by ES-1.