Electrosynthesis of formate is a promising technology to convert CO2 and electricity from renewable sources into a biocompatible, soluble, non-flammable, and easily storable compound. In the model methanogen Methanococcus maripaludis, uptake of cathodic electrons was shown to proceed indirectly via formation of formate or H2 by undefined, cell-derived enzymes. Here, we identified that the multi-enzyme heterodisulfide reductase supercomplex (Hdr-SC) of M. maripaludis is capable of direct electron uptake and catalyzes rapid H2 and formate formation in electrochemical reactors (-800 mV vs Ag/AgCl) and in Fe(0) corrosion assays. In Fe(0) corrosion assays and electrochemical reactors, purified Hdr-SC primarily catalyzed CO2 reduction to formate with a coulombic efficiency of 90% in the electrochemical cells for 5 days. Thus, this report identified the first enzyme that stably catalyzes the mediator-free electrochemical reduction of CO2 to formate, which can serve as the basis of an enzyme electrode for sustained electrochemical production of formate.
- Direct electron transfer
- Electrochemical synthesis of formate
- Enzyme electrode
- Heterodisulfide reductase
- Microbial electrosynthesis