Synthesizing Sodium Tungstate and Sodium Molybdate Microcapsules Via Bacterial Mineral Excretion

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We present a method, the bacterial mineral excretion (BME), for synthesizing two kinds of microcapsules, sodium tungstate and sodium molybdate, and the two metal oxides' corresponding nanoparticles—the former being as small as 22 nm and the latter 15 nm. We fed two strains of bacteria, Shewanella algae and Pandoraea sp., with various concentrations of tungstate or molybdate ions. The concentrations of tungstate and molybdate were adjusted to make microcapsules of different length-to-diameter ratios. We found that the higher the concentration was, the smaller the nanoparticles were. The nanoparticles came in with three length-to-diameter ratios: 10:1, 3:1 and 1:1, which were achieved by feeding the bacteria respectively with a low concentration, a medium concentration, and a high concentration. The images of the hollow microcapsules were taken via the scanning electron microsphere (SEM). Their crystal structures were verified by X-ray diffraction (XRD)—the crystal structure of molybdate microcapsules is Na2MoO4 and that of tungstate microcapsules is Na2WO4 with Na2W2O7. These syntheses all were accomplished under a near ambient condition.