Microchimica Acta

, 186:283 | Cite as

Visual distance readout to display the level of energy generation in paper-based biofuel cells: application to enzymatic sensing of glucose

  • Yanhu Wang
  • Lina Zhang
  • Peini ZhaoEmail author
  • Shenguang GeEmail author
  • Mei Yan
  • Jinghua Yu
Original Paper


Biofuel cells (BFCs) based on anodic oxidation and cathodic oxygen reduction represent an attractive alternative to self-powered devices. A glucose/oxygen BFC is described for monitoring glucose. It is making use of a piece of paper carrying a glucose oxidase (GOx) based bioanode, and a bilirubin oxidase (BilOx) based biocathode. The performance of the BFC is affected by the generation of H2O2, a byproduct of enzymatic glucose oxidation. Therefore, the removal of H2O2 is a crucial step in terms of BFC performance and stability. In addition, direct, unambiguous visual read-out is an ideal way to provide quantitative information. The colorimetric readout system described here is based on the consumption of undesired H2O2 and to convert the extent of energy generation into recognizable variations in color. As the H2O2 travels along the hydrophilic channel by capillary action, the formation of red gold nanoparticles from AuCl4 leads to the appearance of a red bar that provides distance-based information that can be read visually. The multiply readable information (maximum power density of BFC or visible distance) provides further choices for quantification. It also enhances reliability. The self-powered system based on the BFC exhibits excellent performance. Glucose can be determined by this method in the 1 to 50 mM concentration range.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of a paper-supported biofuel cell equipped with a visual distance readout to display the level of energy generation in biofuel cells, and its application in sensing of glucose.


Paper-based device Self-powered device Multi-signal sensing H2O2 



This work was financially supported by the program for Taishan Scholer of Shandong province (ts201712048), Major Program of Shandong Province Natural Science Foundation (ZR2017ZC0124) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (21874055, 51632003). Supports from the 111 Project of International Corporation on Advanced Cement-based Materials (No. D17001) is greatly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2019_3374_MOESM1_ESM.doc (674 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 674 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringUniversity of JinanJinanChina
  2. 2.Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Preparation and Measurement of Building MaterialsUniversity of JinanJinanChina
  3. 3.Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary ResearchUniversity of JinanJinanChina

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