Enhancing reaction rate in a Pickering emulsion system with natural magnetotactic bacteria as nanoscale magnetic stirring bars†
Pickering emulsion is emerging as an advanced platform for catalysis because of the large oil/water interface area for reaction and its superior efficiency. How to enhance the mass transportation within the micro-droplets is the biggest obstacle in further improving the efficiency of the Pickering emulsion system. In this study, we propose and solve this problem for the first time using natural magnetotactic bacteria as nanoscale magnetic stirring bars, which can be encapsulated into each micro-droplet and used to stir the solution to accelerate the mass transportation under an external magnet, and thus significantly enhance the reaction rate of Pickering emulsion. Taking the epoxidation of cyclooctene in the Pickering emulsion system as a demonstration, the reaction rate was enhanced three times with nanoscale magnetic stirring bars compared to that of traditional Pickering emulsion, and was even thirty times higher than that of conventional stirrer-driven biphasic systems. We envision that this strategy will bring biphasic reactions with fundamental innovations toward more green, efficient and sustainable chemistry.