Principal investigator Alexander Star and his team were interested in using a diabetic’s characteristic fruity breath odor as a biomarker and possible diagnostic tool for the disease. The team is working on a prototype sensor, with plans to test it on human breath samples in the near future.
“Current monitoring devices are mostly based on blood glucose analysis, so the development of alternative devices that are noninvasive, inexpensive and provide easy to use breath analysis could completely change the paradigm of self-monitoring diabetes,” Star said in a prepared statement.
The team combined titanium dioxide – an inorganic compound widely used in consumer products such as makeup – with carbon nanotubes, which act as skewers to hold the particles together. This method, which the researchers call titanium dioxide on a stick, effectively combined the electrical properties of the tubes with the light illuminating powers of the titanium dioxide. “Our measurements have excellent detection capabilities,” Star said in the prepared statement. “If such a sensor could be developed and commercialized, it could transform the way patients with diabetes monitor their glucose levels.”
REFERENCE: Kris B. Mamula; Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times; Jun 10, 2013