pH-responsive materials for optical monitoring of wound status

Clemens Gamerith*, Daniel Luschnig, Andreas Ortner, Nikolas Pietrzik, Jan Hinrich Guse, Michael Burnet, Marieke Haalboom, Job van der Palen, Andrea Heinzle, Eva Sigl, Georg M. Gübitz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)
    10 Downloads (Pure)


    The monitoring of infection status of wounds is an emerging field and the pH of wound exudate is considered one potential indicator of infection. pH indicators intended for use in medical devices, such as swabs or dressings, need to be fixed in place, however, visual pH indicators are usually soluble molecules so are not inherently suitable for use in devices. To address this, we developed a rapid and simple immobilisation method for coupling pH-responsive dyes onto solid phases. The use of a silane based coupling agent for immobilisation of bromocresol purple led to a shift in the pH dependent spectral properties of the resulting material. The pH responsive material changes from yellow to green to blue with rising pH providing an ideal contrast to the reddish colour of most wound exudates. This is a key advantage over currently available alternatives when considering the suitability of this material for incorporation into various medical devices. In addition, we analysed clinical study samples to verify the association between wound infection and elevated pH-values. A device with an embedded indicator that changes to a contrast colour could represent a simple and easy-to-use system for detecting wounds at risk of infection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number126966
    Number of pages9
    JournalSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
    Early online date9 Aug 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2019


    • Diagnostic materials
    • Immobilized pH indicator
    • Infection risk
    • Visual indicator
    • Wound pH
    • n/a OA procedure


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