Bio-engineered palladium nanoparticles

Business opportunity

Palladium nanoparticles (Pd NPs) have a wide range of applications in for example catalysis, sensors, fuel cells and nanomedicine. The functionality of such particles can be enhanced by modifying their size and shape  or by combinations with different metals. Researchers at the University of Oslo have developed a toolbox to generate different Pd NPs using biotechnological modifications of bacteria. These NPs can likely be produced in a more eco-friendly manner than current approaches can, and parameters as size, composition and shape can be controlled to tailor their properties. For this project we are interested in industrial co-development collaborations.

Technology description

Metal NP production in bacteria is regulated by different pathways including e.g. metal transporters. Using Palladium as a model system we have identified individual genes that impact Pd uptake into cells, and the reduction of the metal. We are genetically engineering these genes to fine-tune the NPs size and shape which have direct effect on catalytic properties and that can also result in unique magnetic properties.

(left) Optimization of NP bacterial production strains. (right) Electron microscopy (TEM) of Pd nanoparticles formed in bacterial cells. Blue/yellow inset : EDX spectroscopy confirms the presence of Pd in areas where the dark particles are found, but not outside these areas.

Current proof of concept is from Pd. We intend to expand this to both other metals and mixed-metals. The  engineered bacterial strains to produce metal NPs of different sizes and shapes, can therefore be tailored to create new materials for a variety of applications, including chemical catalysis, electronics, and medical applications.


Intellectual property

The technology involves valuable know-how that is currently kept secret. Inventive aspects will be subject of a patent application filing when timely.



Gerbrand Koster, Ph.D.

Gerbrand Koster, Ph.D.

Technology Strategy Manager


+47 46 95 17 79