Description and Drawings of a Direct Quantification Portable Salivary Melatonin Biosensor for Determining Circadian Rhythms


  1. Love, R.J.
  2. Paul, M.A.
  3. Kraatz, H-B.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Toronto Univ, Toronto ONT (CAN)
An individual’s circadian rhythm governs cycles of fatigue and alertness, which permits nighttime sleep and optimal performance of mental and physical tasks during the day. Circadian misalignment, caused by shift work or eastward/westward travel, therefore impairs our ability to sleep and remain mentally alert. This is particularly problematic in military and civilian occupations in which human error may result in death; such is the case for transport vehicle operators and medical professionals. As a result, knowing and understanding an individual’s baseline circadian rhythm may be critical in fatigue-related accident prevention strategies. Currently, accurate identification of a person’s circadian rhythm requires salivary melatonin assessment by a plate-based immunoassay, which takes 24 hours and must be performed in a laboratory. Therefore, the goal of this project is to develop and test a user-friendly device that performs nearly instantaneous salivary melatonin assessment. Direct electrochemical quantification of melatonin was performed in water and saliva on a disposable ceramic screen-printed electrode with a chemically modified surface. The peak current of melatonin oxidation in both mediums (water and saliva) was highly correlated (R2 > 0.95) to the concentration of melatonin in the samples. In conclusion we have shown proof-of-concept that melatonin can be directly quantified on a gold electrode.

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Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2013-108 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2014
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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