Screen-Printed Sensors Modified with Nafion and Mesoporous Carbon for Electrochemical Detection of Lead in Blood

Elena Boselli, Zhizhen Wu, Erin N. Haynes, Ian Papautsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lead (Pb) has long been acknowledged as a systemic toxicant, with pronounced health impacts observed even at low exposure levels, particularly in children. Adverse effects include diminished cognitive function, altered behavior, and developmental delays. Consequently, it is imperative to conduct regular monitoring of Blood Lead Levels (BLLs). In this work, we report on an electrochemical sensor based on screen-printed carbon electrode (SPCE) coated with Nafion and mesoporous carbon (MC). The sensor system uses simple sample preparation (acidification and dilution of whole blood), minimal sample volume (a few blood drops, 200 μl), and swift time-to-results (1 h). A limit of quantitation (LOQ) of 0.3 μg dL−1 Pb was achieved in whole blood. To demonstrate the practical utility of our sensor system, we evaluated its performance in the analysis of blood samples collected from children (n = 25). Comparative analysis with the laboratory-based gold standard method of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) demonstrated approximately 77% accuracy and 94% precision. We anticipate that our approach will serve as a valuable tool for more frequent BLL monitoring, particularly in communities where access to laboratory testing is impractical or expensive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number027513
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published on behalf of The Electrochemical Society by IOP Publishing Limited.


  • blood
  • electrochemical sensor
  • lead detection
  • screen-printed carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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