Using enzymes commonly found in living cells, a new type of fuel cell produces small amounts of electricity from sugar. If the technology becomes viable for mass production, a few drops of your favorite soft drink will be all you need to recharge your cell phone.
In fuel cells, chemical reactions generate electrical currents. The process usually relies on precious metals, such as platinum, acting as catalysts. In living cells, enzymes perform a similar job, breaking down sugars to extract electrons and produce energy.
When researchers previously used enzymes in fuel cells, they had trouble keeping them humming, says Shelley D. Minteer of St. Louis University. Whereas biological cells continually produce fresh enzymes, there's no mechanism in