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Biohybrid catalyst with copper nanoparticles

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Partner keyword: 
Biochemistry / Biophysics
Enzyme Technology
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
Biological Nanomaterials
Enzymology/Protein Engineering/Fermentation
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
Industrial chemicals
Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems
Research and experimental development on biotechnology
Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering


A Spanish public research organisation has developed a novel hybrid material consisting on a protein matrix and nanoparticles of different copper species.The effect of the combination is an enhancement of the peroxidase activity of the material which leads to degradation of organic molecules at short times. It also shows an interesting catalase-like activity. Companies from the chemical or biochemical areas are being sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement.



In the recent years there has been an increase in the use of copper nanoparticles as catalyst due to their high surface-to-volume ratio. However, the use of these nanoparticles is restricted by copper’s inherent instability under atmospheric conditions, which makes it prone to oxidation. Therefore, the development of stable and robust copper nanoparticles is necessary, for its use as catalyst.

This invention provides a simple technology to produce a highly active, selective, stable and robust nanocatalyst: a bionanohybrid made up of copper nanoparticles synthesized in situ into an enzyme matrix. The method, which is based on the in situ formation of the nanoparticles into the protein network, also allows directing the synthesis of the nanoparticles to obtain the desired copper nano-species.

These novel catalysts showed excellent catalytic performance in the degradation of a toxic and pollutant compound in aqueous media. For example p-nitrophenol were completely reduced (starting with 150 ppm) into p-aminophenol in 15 seconds. For the degradation of Bisphenol A (46 ppm), 95% of the same was removed after 20 minutes.

The catalase activity (degradation of H2O2) of the different synthesized bionanohybrids was evaluated showing a moderate specific activity of 2.49 U/mg in distilled water.

The Spanish research organization is looking for chemical or biochemical companies interested in the collaboration for the development of the potential applications of the catalyst and interested in its use, under a patent license. The material has only been tested at a laboratory scale, but it can be easily adapted to an industrial scale and can be applied in different and promising applications: the degradation of organic pollutants, the synthesis of drugs, in the development of biosensors and in the development of antioxidant therapies.
The Spanish research organization has a broad experience in the development of novel catalyst for innovative industrial processes and in the collaboration with the industry in their development and scale up.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
- The material can be synthetized with a green method: in aqueous media, by a simple procedure, under air and at room temperature. - The control of the copper species, the size, crystallinity and morphology of the nanoparticles is possible changing some the conditions of the synthesis. - Effective degradation of organic pollutants was achieved up to seconds. - The catalysts exhibited an excellent stability maintaining 95% of the catalytic efficiency after 6 cycles of use. - The bionanohybrid shows catalase-like activity - The material can be used in different catalytic applications: bioremediation, drug intermediates synthesis, bionanosensors or antioxidant therapies.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Under development/lab tested

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
Chemical and/or biochemical companies interested in the collaboration for the development and the final use of this catalyst, under patent license, are sought. The role of the company would be to study and develop the applications of the bio-nanohybrid in collaboration with the R&D organization.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500