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Engineering of bespoke photosensitiser-microbe interfaces for enhanced semi-artificial photosynthesis.

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Biohybrid systems for solar fuel production integrate artificial light-harvesting materials with biological catalysts such as microbes. In this perspective, we discuss the rational design of the abiotic-biotic interface in biohybrid systems by reviewing microbes and synthetic light-harvesting materials, as well as presenting various approaches to coupling these two components together. To maximise performance and scalability of such semi-artificial systems, we emphasise that the interfacial design requires consideration of two important aspects: attachment and electron transfer. It is our perspective that rational design of this photosensitiser-microbe interface is required for scalable solar fuel production. The design and assembly of a biohybrid with a well-defined electron transfer pathway allows mechanistic characterisation and optimisation for maximum efficiency. Introduction of additional catalysts to the system can close the redox cycle, omitting the need for sacrificial electron donors. Studies that electronically couple light-harvesters to well-defined biological entities, such as emerging photosensitiser-enzyme hybrids, provide valuable knowledge for the strategic design of whole-cell biohybrids. Exploring the interactions between light-harvesters and redox proteins can guide coupling strategies when translated into larger, more complex microbial systems.


Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council for funding (No. BB/S002499/1, BB/S00159X/1, and BB/S000704/1). ER acknowledges a UKRI/ERC Advanced Grant (No. EP/X030563/1).


3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 34 Chemical Sciences, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

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Chem Sci

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Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S00159X/1)