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Self-Driven Disposable Sensor for Easy Measurement of Blood Glucose Levels at Home

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Electrochemical biosensors employ biomolecules like enzymes and antibodies as recognition elements, enabling them to detect target molecules with exceptional sensitivity. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have developed a self-driven, disposable biosensor suitable for wearable and miniaturized applications. This innovative sensor does not rely on an external power source or a device to drive the reaction.

Tsukuba, Japan—Electrochemical biosensors utilize biomolecules, such as enzymes and antibodies, as bioreceptors that recognize specific substances in a sample. This recognition generates an electrical signal that provides information about what is present and in what quantity. For instance, to determine the concentration of glucose in the blood, an electrochemical sensor with an enzyme that selectively recognizes glucose can be used. However, this type of sensor usually requires a dedicated electrode and a device to control the reaction that takes place at the electrode.

In this research, a biofuel cell on a chip was used as a sensor. This innovative design allows the reaction between the enzyme and glucose to occur without the need for an external device or power source. To take a measurement, a few microliters (one-millionth of a liter) of blood are dropped onto the chip, and the reaction proceeds. The current flowing between the two electrodes of the biofuel cell is then measured to determine the blood glucose level. This information can be read using general-purpose devices, such as smartphones.

By applying this principle and modifying the enzyme based on the substance to be measured, it is expected that disposable sensors capable of detecting various biomarkers will be developed.

This research was supported by JSPS, Japan, KAKENHI Grant Number 22K18912 (ST), Iketani Science and Technology Foundation, Japan, (0341112-A, ST), Yashima Environment Technology Foundation, Japan, (ST), and Auvergne Rhone Alpes programs, France: Pack Amb Int'l 2019 and Pack Amb Int'l 2021 (AZ).

Original Paper

Title of original paper:
A disposable enzymatic biofuel cell for glucose sensing via short-circuit current
Biosensors and Bioelectronics


Associate Professor TSUJIMURA Seiya
Institute of Pure and Applied Science, University of Tsukuba

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