Improved durability and sensitivity of bitterness-sensing membrane for medicines

Xiao Wu, Hideya Onitake, Zhiqin Huang, Takeshi Shiino, Yusuke Tahara, Rui Yatabe, Hidekazu Ikezaki, Kiyoshi Toko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the improvement of a bitterness sensor based on a lipid polymer membrane consisting of phosphoric acid di-n-decyl ester (PADE) as a lipid and bis(1-butylpentyl) adipate (BBPA) and tributyl o-acetylcitrate (TBAC) as plasticizers. Although the commercialized bitterness sensor (BT0) has high sensitivity and selectivity to the bitterness of medicines, the sensor response gradually decreases to almost zero after two years at room temperature and humidity in a laboratory. To reveal the reason for the deterioration of the response, we investigated sensor membranes by measuring the membrane potential, contact angle, and adsorption amount, as well as by performing gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).We found that the change in the surface charge density caused by the hydrolysis of TBAC led to the deterioration of the response. The acidic environment generated by PADE promoted TBAC hydrolysis. Finally, we succeeded in fabricating a new membrane for sensing the bitterness of medicines with higher durability and sensitivity by adjusting the proportions of the lipid and plasticizers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2541
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 4 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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