A novel enzyme for recovering gold from e-waste

A new research article by Prof. I-Son Ng’s group in National Cheng Kung University and published in Bioresources and Bioprocessing finds Multicopper oxidase enzyme has exciting potential in gold absorption.


Guest post by Jian-He Xu, Editor-in-Chief of Bioresources and Bioprocessing

Multicopper oxidase (MCO) is a promising enzyme of laccase family for detection of oxidation, which may function as a biosensor and be applied in bioremediation. In biology, MCOs are enzymes which oxidise their substrate by accepting electrons at a mononuclear copper centre and transferring them to a trinuclear copper centre; dioxygen binds to the trinuclear centre and, following the transfer of four electrons, is reduced to two molecules of water. Through genetic and enzymatic engineering, a new MCO from Proteus hauseri was successfully over-expressed in E. coli.

This MCO has a great potential for GOLD (Au) adsorption, as much as 38% (w/w), which is almost 10-fold higher than other proteins. By zeta-potential analysis, the recombinant MCO is anionic and the Au adsorption on the protein is through electrostatic interactions (Fig. 1). This is the first attempt to explore the ability of MCO to adsorb Au, which may become a novel application for biorecovery of gold in the industry (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1 MCO application in gold adsorption (left) and zeta potential analysis (right)


Fig. 2 Prospective of MCO for biorecovery of gold in different industries.

The original article can be found here.

About the journal

Bioresources and Bioprocessing (BRBP) is a peer-reviewed open access journal published under the brand SpringerOpen. At present the article-processing cost was fully covered by the State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineeering.

The journal aims at providing an international academic platform for exchanging views on and promoting research to support bioresource development, processing and utilization in a sustainable manner. As an application-oriented research journal, BRBP covers not only the application and management of bioresource technology but also the design and development of bioprocesses that will lead to new and sustainable production.

BRBP publishes the following article types: Research Articles, Reviews, Short Reports.

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Xu Zhang

It is well known that multicopper oxidase (MCO) could be used as the biosensor and applied in bioremediation. However, authors of this paper innovatively found that MCO also had a great potential for Gold(Au) adsorption.
The results of this study are encouraging and exciting. I believe that a new path will be opened up for the industrialization process of Au bio-recovery.

Zhang Xu

Multicopper oxidase (MCO) is well known for uses in biosensing and bioremediation. However, this paper interestingly indicates that MCO may also have a great potential for Au (GOLD) recovery.
The results of this study are inspiring and exciting. I believe that a new path will open in the future for the industrialization of Au biorecovery process.

Allen Wu

A new MCO from Proteus hauseri was used for gold adsorption with high efficiency It is an interesting research on biorecovery of gold from e-Waste. It will have a bright futhure in the contribution of the sustainable development of the world.

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