The application of biological systems or components in developing electronic devices is called bioelectronics. The biological system may be a purified enzyme, a membrane, a microbial cell or a protein. It is coupled with a physical detective system to develop an instrument. Bioelectronic instruments are used to analyze the concentration of certain substances in the solution and to store information. An example is biosensors and biochips.
The biosensor is a sensitive analytical tool which converts biological signals of the analyze into electric signals. It is constructed by coupling an enzyme or cell layer with a transducer which is linked to an amplifier and recorder.
The biological system detects the biological signals of the analyze and the transducer converts the biological signals into electric signals for analysis and recording.
Biosensors are now available in the market to measure glucose, acetic acid, soluble sugars, lactic acid, alcohols, formic acid, methane, glutamic acid, vitamin B-1, nicotine acid, BOD, nitrite, ammonia, sulphite, chloride ions, antibiotics, blood urea, sodium, potassium, etc. They are used in medicine, industries, and environmental research departments.
Biosensors have the following advantages:
• They are suitable for on-line measurements of substances in samples or analyte or both.
• No pre-treatment is required before analyzing the analyte with a biosensor.
• Biosensors can be adapted easily for continuous industrial operations.
• They can detect the level of target compounds even if present in smallest proportion.
• They can detect the level of target compounds even if present along with a high proportion of impurities.
• They are more sensitive than manual techniques.
Glucose biosensor is an analytical tool that detects the concentration of glucose in biological samples. There are two types of glucose sensors. They are microbial electrodes and enzyme electrodes or enzyme biosensors.
1. Microbial Glucose Biosensor
In microbial glucose biosensor, a layer of immobilized whole cells of Pseudomonas fluorescents is used as the biological system. It is mainly used for on-line measurements for process control.
2. Enzyme glucose biosensor
In this biosensor, the enzyme glucose oxidase is used as the biological system. It is a potentiometric biosensor. This biosensor is used to detect blood glucose level directly and to deliver the accurate amount of insulin required by the patient.
A biochip is a computer chip consisting of a protein instead of silicon. It is made by inserting a semiconducting molecule into a protein framework fixed on a protein support. Biochips replace the usual silicon chips in modern computers. Protein molecules in the framework have their own characteristic three-dimensional structures. Circuits are crammed around the protein molecules. So the length of each circuit is equal to the circle of the protein molecule. The electric signals pass through the semiconducting molecule as in silicon chips.
Advantage of biochips
Biochips have the following advantages over silicon chips:
• Electronic circuits with very small width can be crammed in the protein framework of biochips.
• Electron tunneling is very low.
• The problem of short circuits as in silicon chip is very low.
• The number of circuits can be crammed in biochips than in silicon chips.
• Least amount of heat is generated while the electric signals pass through the circuits.
Uses of biochips
• Biochips can be implanted in artificial limbs so as to make them work as original limbs.
• Heartbeats can be regulated by implanting biochips at the pacemaker node. So the patients need not use costly pacemakers.
• Biochips are implanted in optical nerves of blinds so that they can receive the signals of light.
• Biochips can be implanted into ears of deaf so as to make them feel the sense of hearing.
• As biochips are immune to electromagnetic waves from nuclear disasters, they can be substituted for silicon chips in military computers.
The technology is growing day by day; we in this article learned the advancement in electronics field which would be beneficial undoubtedly in the medical field.
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