Department of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Point of measurement devices which can accurately detect and quantify the levels of bacteria in food and water forms the basis of a new licensing deal between Oxford University Innovation (OUI), the research commercialisation arm of Oxford University, and electrochemical sensor manufacturer Zimmer and Peacock (ZP).

The sensors were developed by Professor Richard Compton and Dr Sabine Kuss,  a Marie Curie Fellow in the Department of Chemistry; the Compton Group having a long history of developing commercial electrochemical sensors.  ZP will develop palm-sized devices to utilise electrochemical sensing to analyse a liquid sample, in a similar way to blood sugar monitoring, and delivers results to a smartphone in 30 minutes.

The Compton Group and ZP deal builds on a pre-existing relationship following the prior licensing of several technologies in the food market.

Dr Martin Peacock and Mr. Even Zimmer, the founders of Zimmer and Peacock, said: "It's great to be able to use our capabilities to develop this new technology from Richard’s lab. We will be developing and marketing this technology to enable customers to make their own detection of quantification of bacteria in food and water. Electrochemical sensors are well suited to compact electronics that can be coupled to smartphones to give a simple numerical reading. This will change an industry, which is currently waiting for 3 days to know whether their products have pathogen contamination. "

Prof Compton added:  "I am looking forward to working with Even and Martin's team at ZP to further develop these sensors from my group. They understand the science, the market, and have an impressively dynamic and proactive approach."

Dr Kuss continued: "We know that ZP are determined to make products that are easy to use and will help to keep the public safe from water and food borne illnesses."

 Dr Jamie Ferguson at Oxford University Innovation, added:  "We have a longstanding relationship with ZP and have seen success together on several food sensors.  ZP bring a wealth of experience in developing the microfluidics and electronics to bring this latest development from the Compton Group to market. I look forward to hearing how the customers trials progress.  We know that ZP will ensure that this technology becomes a solution that customers want to use."