A new design for lactic acid sensors promises to be less expensive, have a longer shelf life, and be easier to miniaturize compared to traditional enzyme-based sensors. This innovative sensor can detect lactic acid, a byproduct produced when the body uses glucose or carbohydrates as fuel during activities such as exercise. Elevated lactic acid levels have been linked to an increased risk of catastrophic organ failure and unconsciousness or coma.

The sensor’s simplicity and portability make it ideal for use in remote settings, such as athletic tracks, without the need for electricity-powered detection equipment. Traditionally, lactic acid levels are measured using enzyme tests, which have a short shelf life and require battery-powered equipment. In contrast, the new chemosensor uses a chemical method with a graphene foam electrode surface to monitor lactic acid.

The technology, called Gii-Sens and developed by Integrated Graphene, utilizes a pure, porous 3D carbon nanostructure known as Gii™. This structure is low-cost and eliminates the need for unsustainable precious metals like gold. When lactate attaches to the sensor, it alters the carbon foam’s electrical signal, or quantum capacitance. This allows the foam to detect low quantities of lactic acid without consuming it, by analyzing variations in Gii’s electrical charge, enabling continuous monitoring.

Because it is a chemical sensor rather than an enzyme sensor, the new design has the potential to be less expensive, have a longer shelf life, and be more easily miniaturized. As Marken noted, “This sensor, using Gii-Sens technology, addresses some of the main limitations with non-wireless current lactic acid enzyme tests. It will allow for a more simply operated sensor, opening up the potential for more regular, less invasive, and more reliable tracking of lactic acid, even during athlete performance.”

Lactic acid tests are crucial in several fields. In professional sports, they help determine an athlete’s response to various intensities and training regimens, enabling athletes to enhance their endurance and recovery by tracking and improving their body’s ability to process lactate. In medical settings, lactic acid is measured to monitor cardiac conditions such as myocardial infarctions, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. High lactic acid levels can impair the heart’s and blood vessels’ capacity to contract, affecting hemodynamics and normal function.

This breakthrough graphene-based sensor represents a significant advancement in the monitoring of lactic acid, offering a more efficient, durable, and scalable solution for both athletic and medical applications.

By Impact Lab