Self-Enclosed Bio-Photoelectrochemical Cell in Succulent Plants

Yaniv Shlosberg, Gadi Schuster, Noam Adir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Harvesting an electrical current from biological photosynthetic systems (live cells or isolated complexes) is typically achieved by immersion of the system into an electrolyte solution. In this study, we show that the aqueous solution found in the tissues of succulent plants can be used directly as a natural bio-photo electrochemical cell. Here, the thick water-preserving outer cuticle of the succulent Corpuscularia lehmannii serves as the electrochemical container, the inner water content as the electrolyte into which an iron anode and platinum cathode are introduced. We produce up to 20 μA/cm2bias-free photocurrent. When 0.5 V bias is added to the iron anode, the current density increases ∼10-fold, and evolved hydrogen gas can be collected with a Faradaic efficiency of 2.1 and 3.5% in dark or light, respectively. The addition of the photosystem II inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea inhibits the photocurrent, indicating that water oxidation is the primary source of electrons in the light. Two-dimensional fluorescence measurements show that NADH and NADPH serve as the major mediating electron transfer molecules, functionally connecting photosynthesis to metal electrodes. This work presents a method to simultaneously absorb CO2while producing an electrical current with minimal engineering requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53761-53766
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number48
StatePublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • bioelectronics
  • electrochemical cell
  • hydrogen
  • photosynthesis
  • succulent

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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