Due to highly flexibility and transparent nature of the material, it could be used as a wearable non-invasive sensor and can be attached to a smart watch to display the concentration of glucose and alcohol in the sweat. It can also be connected to an app, which can send an alert if the alcohol consumption is higher than a set limit.
“The lowest detection limit found for glucose is 0.4 mM (millimolar) whereas for that of ethanol it was found to be 0.34 mM (millimolar),” researchers said in their article, “Non-Invasive, Non-Enzymatic, Biodegradable and Flexible Sweat Glucose Sensor and Its Electrochemical Studies”, published in Chemistryselect, an European journal published in September 2020.
“The cellulose material completely degrades within 15 days. It is a very easily available material at low cost,” said Preethi Ramadoss, lead researcher from Anna University. The available disposable test strips are made of plastics and not degradable. The lancets which contain blood can also transmit infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and it poses serious environmental risk. “The material is also antibacterial, hence it can be safely used on sensitive skin without causing any infections,” she added.
Usually, sensors work as three electrodes systems — working electrode, reference electrode and counter electrode. This material itself is a working electrode. In most of the materials, the plastic is used just as a stick and on top of it will be working electrode, reference electrode and counter electrode, which act as sensors.
Since the new material functions as a working electrode, they have to print just two electrodes on top of it without adding any inorganic compounds like zinc oxide.
In vitro cell culture studies, researchers used human blood serum in place of foetal bovine serum which is extracted in a most cruel manner by slaughtering pregnant cows.