With the revolutionary advances in science and technology, the need for real-time monitoring of human health is paramount.
To better analyze human health, a research team from the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Science Academy (ICCAS) developed a living substance for real-time lactate monitoring.
In addition to being an important analyte in bioprocess engineering, sports medicine and clinical care, lactate is a reliable biomarker for tumor development, metastasis and recurrence.
Real-time health monitoring can benefit from high-performance wearable biosensors for determining the amount of lactate in body fluids for medical purposes and cancer treatment.
A new biohybrid material called “living materials” combines biological components, including bacteria, mammalian cells, fungi and algae, with synthetic functional materials. Due to their combined advantages, living materials are useful for biosensing, biosynthesis and biomedical diagnostics.
The delocalized electrical structure of conjugated polymers (CPs) allows electron transport along the backbone.
Many new water-soluble conjugated polymers (WSCPs) with excellent water-solubility, photoelectric properties and biocompatibility were developed and synthesized by further modifying the CP backbone using water-soluble side chains.
The development of living materials and bioelectronic devices is expected to benefit from the use of WSCPs as good artificial functional materials.
The ICCAS team, led by Professors Shu Wang and Haotian Bai, created a living material using: Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 and cationic polythiophene (PMNT). The PMNT can help S. oneidensis MR-1 develops biofilms and improves the bioelectronic process.
As a result, the created living materials can accelerate lactate oxidation and increase the rate of outgoing electron transfer.
Through additional functional module integration and engineering technology processing, the material is used to create a flexible bioelectronic device for lactate detection in physiological fluids (sweat, urine and plasma) and tumor cells.
The wearable smartphone could wirelessly receive and process all the electrical signals collected by the flexible bioelectronic device.
The method for making living materials described in this study integrates the biological activity of living cells with the optoelectronic features of CPs. Future health tracking applications can be found in the flexible and wearable electronic gadgets based on the new living materials.
Wang, Z., et al† (2022) Flexible bioelectronic device made of conductive polymer-based living material. Progress in science. doi: 10.1126/sciaadv.abo1458