Electrochemical sensor for monitoring levels of oxygen and nitrogen reactive species to benefit ageing research

Project Details


This project was focused on the development of a novel microelectrode that can be tailored for any specific chemical post biological and chemical modification.

These microelectrodes were made using carbon nanotube composite material, which allows the means to have a varied electrode area. These sensors can be made using two different strategies, where they can be held in either glass capillaries or plastic pipettes, allowing for sensors to be rigid or flexible. This is a rapid improvement compared to conventionally made carbon based electrodes.

The sensors were modified for the detection of various reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS). These chemicals are of specific interest as they play key biological roles. They have been implicated in the ageing process and are the basis of many theories associated with the ageing process. At present, only total ROS/RNS have been detected with current technology, as the fluorescent dyes that are used offer poor specificity. This device was made to benefit researchers working on ageing and is anticipated to increase the impact of these studies.

Measurements was made using microelectrode arrays, which was fabricated using boron-doped diamond. These microelectrode arrays were modified for detection of ROS/RNS. Our microelectrodes were advantageous as they allowed simultaneous measurements of ROS/RNS over various locations.

The ROS/RNS microelectrode and MEAs were tested on two applications associated with ageing. The first characterised the changes in ROS/RNS levels over various regions of old and young isolated neurones. The second application looked at ROS/RNS changes in cell lines that enter senescence. Measurements were carried out in comparison with fluorescent dyes.

Finally, to allow access to this new sensor technology for bioscience researchers, we hosted a workshop that allowed scientist to learn about how the sensor functions and how it could be utilised for monitoring ROS/RNS levels from biological samples.

Overall this new sensing strategy will provide impact to studies associated with ageing, but with the main electrode having the ability to be modified for any specific analyte, the long-term benefits can be for various sectors and fields of importance. It is envisioned that this microelectrode can be tailored for detection of key analytes for major priority areas such as food security, understanding animal physiology and healthy ageing.

Key findings

Our findings have been used to support researchers who wish to monitor ROS/RNS in their investigations. We have made the technology available and promoted this through the leading conference for ageing researchers and anticipate supporting investigations and studies to raise impact of ageing research. We have already worked with acedemic collaborators to use this device for the monitoring multiple reactive oxygen and nitrogen species from cancer tissue and evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy, which was funded by CRUK.
Effective start/end date1/04/1331/03/14


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