Extracellular polymeric substances sustain photoreduction of Cr(VI) by Shewanella oneidensis-CdS biohybrid system

Siyu Zhang, Changhao Li, Changdong Ke, Sijia Liu, Qian Yao, Weilin Huang, Zhi Dang, Chuling Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photosensitized biohybrid system (PBS) enables bacteria to exploit light energy harvested by semiconductors for rapid pollutants transformation, possessing a promising future for water reclamation. Maintaining a biocompatible environment under photocatalytic conditions is the key to developing PBS-based treatment technologies. Natural microbial cells are surrounded by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that either be tightly bound to the cell wall (i.e., tightly bound EPS, tbEPS) or loosely associated with cell surface (i.e., loosely bound EPS, lbEPS), which provide protection from unfavorable environment. We hypothesized that providing EPS fractions can enhance bacterial viability under adverse environment created by photocatalytic reactions. We constructed a model PBS consisting of Shewanella oneidensis and CdS using Cr(VI) as the target pollutant. Results showed complete removal of 25 mg/L Cr(VI) within 90 min without an electron donor, which may mainly rely on the synergistic effect of CdS and bacteria on photoelectron transfer. Long-term cycling experiment of pristine PBS and PBS with extra EPS fractions (including lbEPS and tbEPS) for Cr(VI) treatment showed that PBS with extra lbEPS achieved efficient Cr(VI) removal within five consecutive batch treatment cycles, compared to the three cycles both in pristine PBS and PBS with tbEPS. After addition of lbEPS, the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was greatly reduced via the EPS-capping effect and quenching effect, and the toxic metal internalization potential was lowered by complexation with Cd and Cr, resulting in enhanced bacterial viability during photocatalysis. This facile and efficient cytoprotective method helps the rational design of PBS for environmental remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120339
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


  • Cadmium sulfide
  • Free radicals
  • Hexavalent chromium reduction
  • Photosensitized bacteria
  • Shewanella sp.


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