by Keyword: High-value recycling

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Lanzalaco, S., Fabregat, G., Muñoz-Galan, H., Cabrera, J., Muñoz-Pascual, X., Llorca, J., Alemán, C., (2020). Recycled low-density polyethylene for noninvasive glucose monitoring: A proposal for plastic recycling that adds technological value ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 8, (33), 12554-12560

In this work, we present a successful strategy to convert recycled LDPE films, which usually end up in landfills or leak into the environment, into an advanced biomedical product. More specifically, LDPE films for food packaging have been treated with atmosphere corona discharge plasma for electrochemical detection of glucose. Enzyme-functionalized sensors manufactured using such recycled materials, which act as a mediator capable of electrocommunicating with the glucose oxidase (GOx) enzyme, are able to detect glucose concentrations in sweat and are fully compatible with the levels of such bioanalytes in both healthy and diabetic patients. Covalent immobilization of the GOx enzyme on the plasma-treated LDPE films has been successfully performed using the carbodiimide method, as proved by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Then, the electronic communication between the deeply buried active site of the GOx and the reactive excited species formed at the surface of the plasma-treated LDPE has been demonstrated by linear sweep voltammetry. Finally, cyclic voltammetry in artificial sweat has been used to show that the LDPE-functionalized sensor has a linear response in the concentration of range of 50 μM to 1 mM with a limit of detection of 375 μA·μM–1·cm–2. Comparison of the performance of sensors prepared using recycled (i.e. with additives) and pristine (i.e. without additives) LDPE indicates that the utilization of the former does not require any pretreatment to eliminate additives. The present strategy demonstrates a facile approach for recycling LDPE waste into a high value-added product, which will potentially pave the way for the treatment of plastic waste in the future. Noninvasive glucose sensors based on recycled LDPE may play a crucial role in monitoring diabetes in underdeveloped regions.

Keywords: Biosensors, Diabetes monitoring, High-value recycling, Plasma treatment, Sweat sensors