Cytotoxicity Sensor: Applications in Environmental Toxin Monitoring 


Project Team

Tony O' HaraBrian Seddon and Eithne Dempsey (MiCRA, ITT Dublin)

Siobhán McClean (Centre for Microbial Host Cell Interaction (CHMI), ITT Dublin)


Chemicals from industrial and agricultural sources can have a negative effect on human health and the environment. The REACH directive EC (1907/2006) was introduced by the European Union in June 2007 and is concerned with registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances that may pose a risk to human health and the environment. This places the responsibility on industry to manage any risks from chemicals and provide safety information for them. Mammalian cell biosensors are valuable tools that can be used to assess the cytotoxicity of toxic chemicals.



(A and B) Images of a TOXOR prototype, (C) Confocal image (X 100) of A549 cells immobilised on TOXOR platform and (D) coulometric detection of redox molecules indicative of cellular enzyme activity. 


TOXOR is a cytotoxicity sensor currently under development at CREATE, ITT Dublin. The biorecognition element uses a mammalian cell microculture integrated into the device’s fluidic network. TOXOR measures changes in cellular enzyme activity following exposure of cells to toxic chemicals. It is envisaged that such electronic devices will find applications in instrumentation for the screening of industrial effluents and wastewaters. 


For further information on TOXOR project, contact Tony O' Hara. 


Funding agency

Irish Research Council