A biophysicist at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver says that kidney cells, which are particularly good at transporting ions, may pave the way for a miniature biobattery. Simon Levinson says that the objective may be achieved by stacking up large numbers of cell layers to boost the voltage and current they can produce.
He believes that such biobatteries may be particularly beneficial for powering devices inserted in the body, such as insulin pumps or pacemakers.
Upon insertion in the body, the cell culture could draw oxygen and nutrients from the host's bloodstream, says Levinson.
According to him, if the monolayers are made from immortalised cell lines, the biobattery should live as long as the host.
Levinson admits that making biobatteries with the kind of voltages needed to run medical devices is not easy, reports New Scientist magazine.
However, he insists that he is researching into how this objective can be materialised.