Super Sensitive Sensor For The Detection Of Hydroxyl Free Radicals in Food


Project ID: D2020-04


Detection of free radicals (ROS) is vital in maintaining food safety as the estimated economic damage caused by the impact on food safety is $7 billion per year in the US. The presence of ROS causes devastating effects on the food as it leads to oxidation of proteins, breakage of oligonucleotides, or irreparable altering of gene expression. The current state of the art for detecting free radicals include assay kits using colorimetric methods, metal oxidation methods, and electromagnetic spin resonance (ESR) or electro paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and these are less sensitive, inaccurate, inconsistent, time-consuming, or expensive. Thus, there is a need for a handheld sensor with novel efficient composition and real-time detection for sensing or scavenging free radicals, such as hydroxyl radicals.

Invention Description:

Researchers at the University of Toledo have developed a highly sensitive sensor for the detection of hydroxyl free radicals based on the strong affinity of cerium oxide towards ROS. The invention incorporates a novel composition comprising of ultra-small cerium oxide nanoparticles on a carbon-based substrate that improves the performance and sensitivity of the sensor. The probe in the sensor is designed to allow the sensor tip to contact the area to be measured without disturbances from surrounding non-specific solid materials. The sensor directly interacts with the area where the source of free radical generation is present.


Detection of hydroxyl free radicals.


  • Hand-held and real-time detection.
  • Detection of concentrations lower than 0.1 mM.
  • Improved conductivity of novel cerium oxide/carbon composition over the current state of art with consistent and accurate detection.
  • The novel composition is better than the known composition in detecting and scavenging hydroxyl free radicals.

IP status: Patent Pending

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Stephen Snider
AVP Tech Transfer
The University of Toledo
419 530 6225
Cerium Oxide
Hydroxyl Free Radical
Reactive oxygen species