Zeena Wang

Zeena Wang

Ph.D. Student

The feasibility of using microbial fuel cells technology to facilitate the diagnosis of diabetes at an early stage

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 350 million people worldwide have diabetes. By 2030, diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in the world. Early diagnosis of diabetes is critical for diabetes control and treatment however, it is very difficult to diagnose diabetes at an early stage. This is mainly due to the inconvenience of the current diabetes diagnostic tools on the market.

Blood glucose metres allow people to test their blood glucose levels through the pricking of their fingers. This method is painful, can risk infection, and is not suitable for young children. Urinalysis is a test whereby a chemically treated plastic strip is inserted into the urine and the change in colour will determine the concentration of glucose present the urine. This method is highly subjective and the accuracy is decreased  by interfering substances. Neither methods are suitable for long-term continuous monitoring.

Microbial fuel Cell (MFCs) is a device that utilises electrochemically active bacteria, which converts organic matter into electricity. MFCs have a wide variety of applications, such as wastewater treatment, biotechnology production and biosensors. Within literature, few studies explore the selectivity of the MFC when glucose is present in a mixed solution (for example urine). Therefore, the aim of this project is to produces MFC-based biosensor that is able to provide convenient and long-term monitoring of urine glucose levels, facilitating detection of diabetes in an early stage.

The study is supported by TCD Provost's PhD Project Award.

Project Supervisor(s): Prof. Liwen Xiao & Dr Dunzhu Li