Low Cost Arsenite Sensors

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Chemistry


Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a global problem, affecting 14% of the world's population (WHO Figures) particularly in resource poor regions where access to adequate testing facilities is either limited or non-existent. A simple to use low cost method to measure arsenic at WHO levels would allow contaminated sources to be identified and avoided. Moreover as the arsenic levels are changing dynamically the regular retesting of sources such as tube wells would allow previously identified wells to be bought back into use if levels had fallen sufficiently. Using a disposable strip that plugs into a simple battery powered meter provides a robust route to such decentralised testing. In addition to refining the technical aspects of this device we will also be engaging with potential stakeholders to ensure effective distribution through a variety of channels.


10 25 50
Description We demonstrated the feasibility, on a laboratory scale, of using an arsenic oxidising enzyme in combination with an amperometric sensor to measure arsenic in water.
Exploitation Route Having shown the feasibility of the original idea of an enzyme-based amperometric sensor for arsenite we have laid the groundwork for commercialization of the device.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description Having demonstrated the feasibility of sensing arsenic with our enzyme electrodes, and by developing a feasible business plan for the exploitation of the technology the route to scale-up and deployment has been laid out.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description SuperFoF
Amount £528,417 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 04/2016
Description Development Partnership 
Organisation Bionano Consulting Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The research was initiated and proven by my team and then the technology transferred to the collaborators. We also supplied know how and materials.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners established commercial links with collaborating companies and research organisations overseas as potential end users.
Impact The collaboration has enabled our partners to successfully win InnovateUK funding to continue the commercialisation activities
Start Year 2015
Description Use of a modified arsenite oxidase in and arsenite biosensor 
IP Reference US9447384 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed No
Impact The asignee was able to win further funding from InnovateUK for commercial development
Company Name AquAffirm Ltd 
Description The company was spun out from BioNano Consulting Ltd to give a greater focus on the arsenic sensing development. It is currentlly fund raising to scale up manufacture of sensing devices for water borne toxins 
Year Established 2018 
Impact None as yet
Description Invited Talks (PI) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited lecture at Bangalore India Nano Conference and subsequently met interested researchers and journalists
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bangaloreindianano.in
Description School Entry Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was part of an Imperial College Open Day and was designed the show the breadth of research activity in a Chemistry Department is much greater than 'traditional' chemistry

Pupils and parents asked about interdisciplinary teaching in Chemistry degrees
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Sensors in the Environment Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Talk generated a lot of interest in the audience

After the talk there was discussions on using aptamers in environmental analysis in other areas with other analyses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014