Zinc & Copper Biosensor


JCU researchers have developed a fluorescence-based Zinc & Copper sensing reagent that can be deployed on a real-time thermal cycler. The method is low-cost, easy to use & specific for the ions tested.

Detection method: Fluorescence-based (Figure 1)

figure 1

Sample types: Biological samples, Environmental samples

Sensitivity: 1 μM (Cu & Zn)

Range: 1-12.5 µM (Cu) 1-100 µM (Zn)

Assay formats: The Copper test can be deployed in a semi-quantitative format for field-testing water samples, as well as a quantitative lab-based test.

Assay time: 1hr (<5min hands‑on time) for lab test. 15 min for field kit.

  • Easy to use
  • Unique specificity and sensitivity to copper ions and zinc
  • Large window of concentrations due to the unique dual sensing system
  • Easy scouting
  • Fingerprint profiling (i.e. distinction between zinc and copper is possible)
  • Non-toxic
  • Water soluble
  • Low concentration of reagent (1 μM)
  • Low volume of sample (20 μL)
  • Environmental testing for pollution (test for maximum containment level of copper)
  • Soil micronutrient measurement
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • R&D for chelators
  • In vitro diagnostics

The university are interesting in licensing the technology for commercial applications.


  • Licensing