The development of a biodegradable piezoelectric material using eco-friendly hot spring bacteria is the subject of a recent study published in the journal Nano Energy.
Study: Environmental Bacteria Engineered Piezoelectric Bio-organic Energy Harvester towards Clinical Applications. Image Credit: All Stock Photos/Shutterstock.com
Bio-piezoelectric systems are used extensively in cutting-edge biomedical applications such as monitoring systems, real-time sensors, and therapy equipment. However, the inability to produce a biodegradable, efficient piezoelectric material is a significant barrier to the practical deployment of these devices.
Importance of Piezoelectric Materials
One of the most important resources for meeting global energy demands is green and renewable energy. Sustainable sources of energy are an excellent substitute for finite and harmful fossil fuels. Developing a renewable energy source independent of any environmental circumstances is crucial in this scenario.
Piezoelectric nanogenerators (PENGs) have recently gained popularity due to their self-powered mechanical power collecting capability, which converts mechanical vibrations into electric power for use in transportable electrical equipment. Furthermore, a long-lasting piezoelectric nanogenerator is one of the best options for the fabrication of devices used in biomedical applications, ranging from health monitoring instruments to medical implants.
In contrast to traditional piezoelectric materials, biological piezoelectric materials, such as PVDF and its copolymers, have gained a great deal of interest in the last decade because of their biocompatibility, versatility, compact size, chemical resistance, and convenience of large-area production.
Limitations of Piezoelectric Materials in Biomedical Applications
Piezoelectric action in PVDF cannot be successfully established without electrical poling. The PVDF layer must be deposited into the electromagnetic field for an appropriate response to occur. However, electric poling is not always appropriate owing to its high-power consumption, the possibility of recurring electrical faults, and impracticality in skin sensing applications.
Recent efforts have been made to develop permeable PVDF-based ultrasensitive PENGs that are very efficient in terms of power production. In comparison to the poisonous lead zirconate titanate, these recently developed materials have a high piezoelectric coefficient.
Many investigations have been reported in which external chemicals were added to the PVDF to boost the piezoelectric effect for high-efficiency PENGs. However, due to their lack of bioactivity, such materials in clinical applications are not suitable.
Development of Biocompatible Piezoelectric Materials using Bacterial Strains
Eco-friendly bacterial strains can be employed to improve the cytocompatibility of piezoelectric materials. Many microbes found in the atmosphere are not dangerous to human health.
Bacteria are unlike any other artificial catalyst or biochemical accelerator since they are distinctive in their capacity to perform evolutionary adaptation in very short periods. Due to their ecological and biological importance, bacteria as organic factories have a wide spectrum of uses, including agricultural, farming, and clinical applications.
In this research, the researchers developed a highly biodegradable piezoelectric PVDF film using an eco-friendly thermophilic BKH2 bacterial strain, which was then used to fabricate a piezoelectric energy collector for use in medical health monitoring systems.
The biocompatibility of the bacterial combined PVDF films was investigated by growing E. coli bacteria in the vicinity of the piezoelectric films. E. coli is the most abundant non-pathogenic bacteria, and it can be readily cultivated for a short period at room temperature and at a low cost.
Important Research Findings
The researchers discovered that the bacterial enzyme altered the morphology of PVDF, resulting in a permeable bio-organic layer. The bacteria also interacted with the polymeric chains to enhance the electrocatalyst content and crystalline structure.
Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to analyze the influence of bacterial enzymes on the thermal properties of protein-mixed PVDF films. It was found that the melting point of the bacterial PVDF films rises in the presence of enzymes.
The biocompatible film's piezoelectric co-efficient and quality factor were significantly increased with the addition of bacterial protein, resulting in power production properties that exceeded previously discovered piezoelectric nanogenerators.
Conclusion and Prospects
In addition to supplying power to electrical devices, the remarkable biocompatible piezoelectric material was effectively used in real-time signal analysis, bioimaging, and other biomedical applications. When used as a piezoelectric transducer, the novel bacterial enzyme-based film has the potential to pave the way for next-generation ecological and automated biomedical devices with a minimal negative impact on human health.
Continue reading: Synthesizing ZnO Nanocomposites Using Pomegranates.
Ghosal, C. et al. (2021). Environmental Bacteria Engineered Piezoelectric Bio-organic Energy Harvester towards Clinical Applications. Nano Energy. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211285521010922