Bengaluru: In a heartening development, researchers at Anna University have developed a biodegradable material that reduces medical waste from glucose test strips, reports Times of India.  

The website adds that it is a cellulose derivative-based polymer, for detecting glucose and alcohol level from sweat.
More on the biodegradable material: 

As the material is highly flexible and transparent, the website adds that it could be used as a wearable non-invasive sensor.  Furthermore, it can be attached to a smart watch to display the concentration of glucose and alcohol in the sweat. It can also be connected to an app, which can send an alert if the alcohol consumption is higher than a set limit.

"The lowest detection limit found for glucose is 0.4 mM (millimolar) whereas for that of ethanol it was found to be 0.34 mM (millimolar)," researchers said in their article, "Non-Invasive, Non-Enzymatic, Biodegradable and Flexible Sweat Glucose Sensor and Its Electrochemical Studies", published in Chemistryselect, an European journal published in September 2020.

"The cellulose material completely degrades within 15 days. It is a very easily available material at low cost," the website quoted Preethi Ramadoss, lead researcher from Anna University, as saying. The available disposable test strips are made of plastics and not degradable. The lancets which contain blood can also transmit infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and it poses serious environmental risk. "The material is also antibacterial, hence it can be safely used on sensitive skin without causing any infections," she added.

"The research also gives an optimized formula of using human blood serum instead of foetal bovine serum to grow fibroblast cells and determine cell proliferation," said professor D Arivuoli, Crystal Growth Centre (UGC- National facility for Crystal Growth), Anna University and a guide to the research project.

"Normally researchers use 9% of foetal bovine serum in the medium. We got the same result using 5% human blood serum," he said adding that human blood serum was cheaper than the bovine serum.

"We are planning to apply to patent for this research," professor Airvuoli said.