Iron–sulfur-based single molecular wires for enhancing charge transport in enzyme-based bioelectronic systems Academic Article uri icon


  • When redox enzymes are wired to electrodes outside a living cell (ex vivo), their ability to produce a sufficiently powerful electrical current diminishes significantly due to the thermodynamic and kinetic limitations associated with the wiring systems. Therefore, we are yet to harness the full potential of redox enzymes for the development of self-powering bioelectronics devices (such as sensors and fuel cells). Interestingly, nature uses iron-sulfur complexes ([Fe-S]), to circumvent these issues in vivo. Yet, we have not been able to utilize [Fe-S]-based chains ex vivo, primarily due to their instability in aqueous media. Here, a simple technique to attach iron (II) sulfide (FeS) to a gold surface in ethanol media and then complete the attachment of the enzyme in aqueous media is reported. Cyclic voltammetry and spectroscopy techniques confirmed the concatenation of FeS and glycerol-dehydrogenase/nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide (GlDH-NAD(+)) apoenzyme-coenzyme molecular wiring system on the base gold electrode. The resultant FeS-based enzyme electrode reached an open circuit voltage closer to its standard potential under a wide range of glycerol concentrations (0.001-1M). When probed under constant potential conditions, the FeS-based electrode was able to amplify current by over 10 fold as compared to electrodes fabricated with the conventional pyrroloquinoline quinone-based composite molecular wiring system. These improvements in current/voltage responses open up a wide range of possibilities for fabricating self-powering, bio-electronic devices.

author list (cited authors)

  • Mahadevan, A., Fernando, T., & Fernando, S.

citation count

  • 14

publication date

  • April 2016