Yeast cells-derived hollow core/shell heteroatom-doped carbon microparticles for sustainable electrocatalysis

Xiaoxi Huang, Xiaoxin Zou, Yuying Meng, Eliška Mikmeková, Hui Chen, Damien Voiry, Anandarup Goswami, Manish Chhowalla, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The use of renewable resources to make various synthetic materials is increasing in order to meet some of our sustainability challenges. Yeast is one of the most common household ingredients, which is cheap and easy to reproduce. Herein we report that yeast cells can be thermally transformed into hollow, core-shell heteroatom-doped carbon microparticles that can effectively electrocatalyze the oxygen reduction and hydrazine oxidation reactions, reactions that are highly pertinent to fuel cells or renewable energy applications. We also show that yeast cell walls, which can easily be separated from the cells, can produce carbon materials with electrocatalytic activity for both reactions, albeit with lower activity compared with the ones obtained from intact yeast cells. The results reveal that the intracellular components of the yeast cells such as proteins, phospholipids, DNAs and RNAs are indirectly responsible for the latter's higher electrocatalytic activity, by providing it with more heteroatom dopants. The synthetic method we report here can serve as a general route for the synthesis of (electro)catalysts using microorganisms as raw materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1978-1986
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 28 2015


  • ORR
  • heteroatom-doped carbon
  • hydrazine electrooxidation
  • oxygen reduction
  • yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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