Carbon supported Au-PtRu (Au-PtRu/C) catalysts were prepared as the anodic catalysts for the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). The procedure involved simple deposition of Au particles on a commercial Pt-Ru/C catalyst, followed by heat treatment of the resultant composite catalyst at 125, 175 and 200 degrees C in a N(2) atmosphere. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) measurements indicated that the Au nanoparticles were attached to the surface of the Pt-Ru nanoparticles. We found that the electrocatalytic activity and stability of the Au-PtRu/C catalysts for methanol oxidation is better than that of the PtRu/C catalyst. An enhanced stability of the electrocatalyst is observed and attributable to the promotion of CO oxidation by the Au nanoparticles adsorbed onto the Pt-Ru particles, by weakening the adsorption of CO, which can strongly adsorb to and poison Pt catalyst. XPS results show that Au-PtRu/C catalysts with heat treatment lead to surface segregation of Pt metal and an increase in the oxidation state of Ru, which militates against the dissolution of Ru. We additionally find that Au-PtRu/C catalysts heat-treated at 175 degrees C exhibit the highest electrocatalytic stability among the catalysts prepared by heat treatment: this observation is explained as due to the attainment of the highest relative concentration of gold and the highest oxidation state of Ru oxides for the catalyst pretreated at this temperature. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.