Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photosynthesis: A new source of electrical energy? Biofuel cell works in cactus

Date:
February 18, 2010
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Scientists in France have transformed the chemical energy generated by photosynthesis into electrical energy by developing a novel biofuel cell. The advance offers a new strategy to convert solar energy into electrical energy in an environmentally-friendly and renewable manner. In addition, the biofuel cell could have important medical applications.

Biofuel cell inserted in a cactus and graph showing the course of electrical current as a function of illumination of the cactus (black: glucose, red: O2).

Scientists in France have transformed the chemical energy generated by photosynthesis into electrical energy by developing a novel biofuel cell. The advance offers a new strategy to convert solar energy into electrical energy in an environmentally-friendly and renewable manner. In addition, the biofuel cell could have important medical applications.

Related Articles


These findings have just been published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert solar energy into chemical energy. In the presence of visible light, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20) are transformed into glucose and O2 during a complex series of chemical reactions. Researchers at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (CNRS) developed a biofuel cell that functions using the products of photosynthesis (glucose and O2) and is made up of two enzyme-modified electrodes.

The cell was then inserted in a living plant, in this case a cactus. Once the electrodes, highly sensitive to O2 and glucose, had been implanted in the cactus leaf, the scientists succeeded in monitoring the real-time course of photosynthesis in vivo. They were able to observe an increase in electrical current when a desk lamp was switched on, and a reduction when it was switched off. During these experiments, the scientists were also able to make the first ever observation of the real-time course of glucose levels during photosynthesis. This method could offer a new means of better understanding the mechanisms of photosynthesis.

Furthermore, the researchers showed that a biofuel cell inserted in a cactus leaf could generate power of 9 μW per cm2. Because this yield was proportional to light intensity, stronger illumination accelerated the production of glucose and O2 (photosynthesis), so more fuel was available to operate the cell. In the future, this system could ultimately form the basis for a new strategy for the environmentally-friendly and renewable transformation of solar energy into electrical energy.

Alongside these results, the initial objective of this work was to develop a biofuel cell for medical applications. This could then function autonomously under the skin (in vivo), drawing chemical energy from the oxygen-glucose couple that is naturally present in physiological fluids. It could thus provide power for implanted medical devices such as, for example, autonomous subcutaneous sensors to measure glucose levels in diabetic patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Flexer et al. From Dynamic Measurements of Photosynthesis in a Living Plant to Sunlight Transformation into Electricity. Analytical Chemistry, 2010; 82 (4): 1444 DOI: 10.1021/ac902537h

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Photosynthesis: A new source of electrical energy? Biofuel cell works in cactus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218092846.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2010, February 18). Photosynthesis: A new source of electrical energy? Biofuel cell works in cactus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218092846.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Photosynthesis: A new source of electrical energy? Biofuel cell works in cactus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100218092846.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins