Electrochemical monitoring of alcohol in sweat

Julien Biscay, Ewan Findlay, Lynn Dennany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Rapid, periodic monitoring and detection of ethanol (EtOH) after consumption via a non-invasive measurement has been an area of increased research in recent years. Current point-of-care or on-site detection strategies rely on single use sensors which are inadequate for monitoring during a longer period. A low cost, portable and novel approach is developed here for real-time monitoring over several days utilising electrochemical techniques. The sensor shows oxidation of the ethanol in phosphate buffer and artificial sweat using the amperometric response from the application of +0.9 V to the polyaniline modified screen printed electrode using 1 mM EtOH as the averaged amount of EtOH eliminated in sweat after the consumption of one alcoholic beverage. Our enzyme based electrochemical sensor exhibits a qualitative assessment of the presence of EtOH in small volumes (≤40 μL) of 0.1 M sodium bicarbonate and subsequently artificial sweat, with 50 measurements taken daily over 11 days. While quantitative information is not obtained, the sensor system exhibits excellent stability after 3 months’ dried storage in this complex biological matrix in an oxygen free cabinet. This addresses one of the key challenges for enzyme based electrochemical sensors, namely, the ability for real-time monitoring in complex biological matrices. The qualitative response illustrates the potential for this sensor to be exploited by non-experts which suggests the promise for their wider application in next-generation wearable electronics necessary for alcohol monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121815
Early online date30 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • electrochemical sensing
  • alcohol
  • biological matrices
  • reusable device
  • artificial sweat


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