Detection of transdermal biomarkers using gradient-based colorimetric array sensor

Jingjing Yu, Di Wang, Vishal Varun Tipparaju, Wonjong Jung, Xiaojun Xian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Accurate assessment of dietary macronutrients intake is critical for the effective management of multiple diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and cancer. Conventional self-reporting method is burdensome, inaccurate, and often biased. Though blood analysis and breath analysis can provide evidence-based information, they are either invasive or subject to human errors. Here we reported a wearable transdermal volatile biomarkers detection system based on novel colorimetric sensing technology for dietary macronutrients intake assessment. This technique quantifies the emission rates of transdermal volatile biomarkers via a gradient-based colorimetric array sensor (GCAS). The optical system of the GCAS device tracks the localized color development associated with the chemical reaction between the volatile biomarkers and the porous sensing probes, and determines the biomarkers emission rates through image processing algorithms. The localized chemical reaction and the image-based signal processing also make the GCAS capable for multiplexed detection of multiple analytes simultaneously. The GCAS sensor has been applied for transdermal acetone detection on 5 subjects in a keto diet intervention. The study indicates that the transdermal acetone increases after the subjects consuming keto diets and it decreases to basal level after intaking carb-rich diets. The transdermal acetone response from the GCAS sensor correlates well with breath acetone concentration in the range between 0 and 40 ppm and the correlation factor (R2) is as high as 0.8877. This method provides a noninvasive, low-cost, and wearable tool for assessing dietary macronutrients intake outside of lab or hospital settings. It could be widely applied in disease management, weight control, and nutrition management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113650
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Breath biomarkers
  • Colorimetric sensor
  • Dietary macronutrients intake
  • Transdermal volatile biomarkers
  • Wearable device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Detection of transdermal biomarkers using gradient-based colorimetric array sensor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this