A biosensor is a device for the detection of an analyte that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector component.
An analytical device which functions to analyze a sample for the presence of a specific compound is known as sensor. A sensor which utilizes biological material to specifically interact with an analyte is known as a biosensor. An analyte refers to the compound which has to be sensed or the presence of which has to be determined. The interaction of analyte and biosensor is measured and converted to signals, which are again amplified and displayed (Fig. 1). A biosensor thus involves converting a chemical flow of information into electrical signals. The biological materials used in biosensors are mostly enzymes, antibodies, nucleic acids, lectins, a cell as a whole etc.
The Most Widely Used Biosensor
Many of such biosensors are used worldwide; one of the most common and widely used biosensor is the blood glucose biosensor. It uses the enzyme glucose oxidase to act upon substrate glucose found in the bloodstream. The reaction uses electrons and reduces the FAD to FADH2, of which is then finally oxidized by electrode. The current is then measured as concentration of glucose.
Table 1. Commercially available glucose biosensors.
|Abbott||FreeStyle Freedom Lite|
|Aga Matrix||BG Star(AgaMatrix/Sanofi)|
|Bionime||Rightest Blood Glucose Monitoring System|
|Diabetic Supply of Suncoast||Advocate Redi-Code Bi-Lingual Speaking Glucose Meter|
|Roche||Accu-Check Aviva Connect meter|
|Life scan||One Touch Verio meter|
Why Biosensors Matter
The enormous activity in the field of glucose biosensors is a reflection of the major clinical importance of the topic. The huge demands for effective management of diabetes have made the disease a model in developing novel approaches for biosensors. Accordingly, for more than 50 years we have witnessed tremendous progress in the development of electrochemical glucose biosensors. Elegant research on new sensing concepts, coupled with numerous technological innovations, has thus opened the door to widespread applications of electrochemical glucose biosensors.
Such devices account for nearly 85% of the world market of biosensors. Major fundamental and technological advances have been made for enhancing the capabilities and improving the reliability of glucose measuring devices. Such intensive activity has been attributed to the tremendous economic prospects and fascinating research opportunities associated with glucose monitoring. The success of glucose blood meters has stimulated considerable interest in in-vitro and in-vivo devices for monitoring other physiologically important compounds. Similarly, new materials (membranes, mediators, electrocatalysts, etc.) and concepts, developed originally for enhancing glucose biosensors, now benefit a wide range of sensing applications. Despite the impressive progress in the development of glucose biosensors, the promise of tight diabetes management has not been fulfilled, and there are still many challenges related to the achievement of a highly stable and reliable continuous glycemic monitoring process. Such monitoring of moment-to-moment changes in blood glucose concentrations is expected to lead to a substantial improvement in the management of diabetes. The motivation of providing such tight diabetes control thus remains the primary focus of many researchers. Clearly, success in this direction demands a detailed understanding of the underlying biochemistry, physiology, surface chemistry, electrochemistry, and material chemistry. Yet, the ultimate implementation of the new devices may rely on commercial and legal considerations rather than scientific ones.
What The Future May Bring
As this field enters its fifth decade of intense research, we expect significant efforts that couple the fundamental sciences with technological advances. In addition to minimally invasive and noninvasive glucose monitoring, efforts continue toward the development of chronically implanted devices (aimed at functioning reliably for periods of 6-12 months). These and similar developments will greatly improve the control and management of diabetes. The concept of a feedback loop (sensing-delivery) system goes beyond diabetes monitoring. Such ability to deliver an optimal therapeutic dose in response to distinct changes in the body chemistry of each person offers a unique opportunity to deliver personalized medical care and dramatically change the treatment of other diseases through tailored administration of drugs.
About the video: This biosensor injected under the skin can deliver real-time data on overall blood chemistry using 3 different techniques to change tissue and overall oxygen levels. This technology can help physicians collect long-term data to track patient health behaviors.
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