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Electronics news

3D printed, self-powered microbial fuel cell MTE biosensor

Researchers from Ritsumeikan University, Japan, have developed an autonomous, low-cost and floating biosensor to collect information on water quality in lakes and rivers.

The research was published in the Biochemical Engineering Journal on November 1, 2023.

The self-powered biosensor, made of inexpensive carbon materials, can continuously monitor the level of organic pollution in lakes and rivers. To do this, the anode (the electrode where oxidation takes place) of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) is placed in soil that contains electrogenic bacteria. The bacteria, by decomposing organic matter in the water, convert the stored energy into electricity. The resulting electrical power is an indicator of the organic waste content of the contaminated water.

A light-emitting diode (LED) attached to the biosensor to visually display the level of organic contamination starts flashing when the level of organic contaminants in the water exceeds a threshold value of 60 mg/L. The flashing frequency increases when the organic contaminant level significantly exceeds the threshold value.

Since the MTE biosensor generates its own electricity, it does not require an external power supply.