Wearable Enzymatic Alcohol Biosensor

Sensors (Basel). 2019 May 24;19(10):2380. doi: 10.3390/s19102380.


Transdermal alcohol biosensors have the ability to detect the alcohol that emanates from the bloodstream and diffuses through the skin. However, previous biosensors have suffered from long-term fouling of the sensor element and drift in the resulting sensor readings over time. Here, we report a wearable alcohol sensor platform that solves the problem of sensor fouling by enabling drift-free signals in vivo for up to 24 h and an interchangeable cartridge connection that enables consecutive days of measurement. We demonstrate how alcohol oxidase enzyme and Prussian Blue can be combined to prevent baseline drift above 25 nA, enabling sensitive detection of transdermal alcohol. Laboratory characterization of the enzymatic alcohol sensor demonstrates that the sensor is mass-transfer-limited by a diffusion-limiting membrane of lower permeability than human skin and a linear sensor range between 0 mM and 50 mM. Further, we show continuous transdermal alcohol data recorded with a human subject for two consecutive days. The non-invasive sensor presented here is an objective alternative to the self-reports used commonly to quantify alcohol consumption in research studies.

Keywords: alcohol; alcohol use disorder; biosensor; cartridge; disposable; transdermal.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / chemistry*
  • Alcohols / chemistry
  • Alcohols / isolation & purification*
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Ethanol / isolation & purification*
  • Ferrocyanides / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Wearable Electronic Devices


  • Alcohols
  • Ferrocyanides
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • alcohol oxidase
  • ferric ferrocyanide