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Investigation of the enzyme Bilirubin Oxidase as a catalyst for the oxygen electrochemical reduction reaction

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Luciano dos Santos
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC/BT)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Ernesto Rafael Gonzalez; Lauro Tatsuo Kubota; Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior; Valtencir Zucolotto
Advisor: Ernesto Rafael Gonzalez

Bilirubin oxidase from Myrothecium verrucaria is a multicopper oxidase reducing O2 at the expenses of phenols, aromatic amines and polypyrrols oxidation. Electrochemically, this reduction reaction undergoes through the electron transfer between enzyme and electrode. In this thesis, the enzyme was investigated as an efficient O2 reducing agent on electrode surfaces modified by naphthil-2-carboxylate functionalities through diazonium coupling. This modification of the electrode surface increases the activity of the catalytic film up to four times comparing to that obtained by electrodes in which the enzyme molecules were adsorbed conventionally, without modification. It was studied the effect of temperature on O2 reduction, in which catalysis increased linearly with temperature up to 30 °C, and higher temperatures increased the natural enzyme inactivation. This inactivation was confirmed by the activity drop off with time in the presence of O2, by chronoamperometry, ceased out when argon was inserted into the cell and re-established from the same point when argon was purged out by insertion of O2. These results cast aside the idea of activity drop off caused by enzyme desorption. It was also investigated the pH effect on the maximum activity of bilirubin oxidase, carried out between pH 5.0 and 8.0, being the highest activity obtained at pH 5.5-6.0. Furthermore, it was observed that the catalytic current directly increases with applied overpotential, at low pH values, and the reduction wave shape becomes sigmoidal and independent on applied overpotential at high pH values. The reaction is then governed by chemical steps, as the proton transfer. The use of rotating-disc electrodes favored solving the Michaelis-Menten kinetics for the catalytic film in a much greater accuracy (the current response is much less dependent on reagent mass transport) and these data were obtained for pH interval important for practical applications. The overpotential for the O2 reduction reaction catalyzed by bilirubin oxidase was compared to the overpotential obtained by the same reaction catalyzed by Platinum electrodeposited onto a pyrolytic graphite electrode. An overpotential of only 140 mV was observed for the enzymatic catalysis, much lower compared to the 415 mV obtained for the Platinum electrode, under the same experimental conditions, at neutral pH. The proposed method for constructing a cathode for enzymatic fuel cell application and subsequent investigation described allowed an in-depth study of bilirubin oxidase characterization as perhaps the most efficient catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of molecular oxygen in fuel cells to date. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 05/04439-0 - Development of enzyme-based biofuel cells
Grantee:Luciano dos Santos
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)