Phosphate Monitoring Made Easy

About

Phosphorus is a key element of life, necessary for the production of our food and the well-being of humans and animals.

It is however a non-renewable resource, with global reserves estimated to last between 50 and 300 years, and is included in the 20 critical raw materials in Europe, as we import virtually all phosphate required for farming, with clear implications in food security.

Unfortunately, historic lack of regulation has resulted in P overuse and waste, which now makes eutrophication the single biggest water management problem globally.

Our aim is to develop and commercialise an optical sensor for environmental monitoring of phosphate in soils, wastewater streams, and surface waters.

Navigate through this website for more information about the technology, the team and our progress towards the launch of a commercial product!

Technology

In a nutshell

P_sense is based on the use of tailor made building blocks (functional monomers) that selectively bind and signal the presence of phosphate anions, to produce Molecular Imprinted Polymers, or so-called “plastic antibodies“, for phosphate.

How does it look?

The extent of the colour change upon increasing the concentration of phosphate is demonstrated below. What you see is a series of vials containing our phosphate sensing polymer in the form of a fine powder, exposed to increasing concentrations of phosphate (left to right). Impressed? So are we!

colour changes

There’s more! When exposed the polymers to a series of anions such as sulphate, nitrate and chloride, which is among the most abundant ions in surface waters P_sense does not change colour!

Find out more >>                   FAQs>>

 

The team

The team developing P_sense is led by Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis, at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Queen’s University Belfast.

Experimental work and commercial exploitation of P_sense is led by Dr Leila Moura.

Commercial development is co-ordinated by Dr Jason Wiggins from the Research and Enterprise office of QUB.

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