Flexible doctor blade-coated abiotic cathodes for implantable glucose/oxygen biofuel cells

RSC Adv. 2023 Jan 27;13(6):3877-3889. doi: 10.1039/d2ra03471a. eCollection 2023 Jan 24.


Implantable devices powered by batteries have been used for sixty years. In recent devices, lithium-based batteries are the most widely used power source. However, lithium batteries have many disadvantages in terms of safety, reliability, and longevity and require regular monitoring and substitution. Implantable glucose biofuel cells (BFCs) are increasingly seen as a potential future technology for replacing lithium-based batteries because they do not require surgical replacement after 8-10 years and have a theoretically unlimited lifetime thanks to the continued recovery of glucose and oxygen present in the human body. This paper shows the fabrication of flexible implantable abiotic cathodes, based on a nitrogen/iron-doped graphene catalyst, for glucose/oxygen biofuel cell application. An ink, based on nitrogen-iron doped graphene as the abiotic catalyst and chitosan as a binder, was prepared and coated on a flexible teflonated gas diffusion layer using doctor blade coating. The characterization of the biocathode shows an open potential circuit corresponding to the potential of the abiotic catalyst and a high oxygen reduction current density of up to 66 μA cm-2 under physiological conditions. Those cathodes remain stable for up to two years with a current density loss of only 25%. The flexible abiotic electrode cytotoxicity was evaluated by cell culture experiments showing living cells’ high tolerance on the biocathode surface. This work demonstrates that this abiotic catalyst can be a promising alternative for the development of implantable glucose BFCs due to its stability and its cytocompatibility.

PMID:36756603 | PMC:PMC9890629 | DOI:10.1039/d2ra03471a


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