Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: An electrochemical biosensor for in-situ detection of methyl-isoborneol (MIB) in water
*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) programme for East Wales.*
Start date: October 2021
Methyl-isoborneol (MIB) is a naturally occurring compound released in water when algae die off. Its occurrence in drinking water results in customer complaints and unsatisfaction due to the unpleasant taste that MIB imparts to the water. The raw water concentrations can reach up to 800 ng/L whilst the taste threshold concentrations are extremely low ranging from 4 to 15 ng/L depending on the individual. The current methods for MIB detection rely on complicated protocols that involve several steps including sampling, sample preparation (e.g. extraction), and off-site analysis using very expensive laboratory equipment making MIB analysis time-consuming, labour intensive, and expensive. Therefore, an alternative highly selective and sensitive method for in-situ detection of MIB at the ng/L levels is highly desirable.
This project will develop a single ultrafast biosensor for in-situ detection of MIB using various electrochemical methods. Low cost carbon sensor electrodes with properties of enhanced electron transfer and surface area will be fabricated using flexographic printing. More importantly, specific innovations are embodied in the novel implementation of non-conventional metal porphyrins as recognition elements. They will generate characteristic electrochemical signals upon interaction with MIB in water that are distinct from those caused by non-specific adsorption. This will provide an essential step towards label free, direct and easy-to-use in situ monitoring devices.