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Glucose Sensing

Glucose is one of the most important molecules in biological metabolism and is the key source of energy for most living organisms. Knowledge of changing glucose levels is vital for the management of diabetes and in bioprocessing. At the core of nearly all Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology is a molecule that can recognise glucose.

The current state-of-the-art (Glucose Oxidase-based systems) typically detect glucose indirectly by enabling it to react irreversibly with oxygen and measuring an electrical signal. Since enzymes are proteins, they are rather delicate and degrade during storage, and cannot work at biologically abnormal temperatures or pH. Moreover, since the reaction requires oxygen, such systems are completely inoperable in any very low oxygen environment (such as in fermentation or at higher altitudes).

Ziylo Sugar Receptor Binding Glucose

At the heart of our scientific innovation is a new family of GBMs (Glucose Binding Molecules) that can bind glucose reversibly and strongly in water with extraordinary selectivity. Other small molecules, including other carbohydrates, are almost completely ignored. These synthetic receptors are unique in their design and represent a scientific breakthrough that can revolutionise Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) in complex biological media.

Our family of molecules are synthetically engineered to provide ideal binding ‘pockets’ which can recognise a specific molecule like glucose. The binding pockets rely on a network of non-covalent interactions that have been tailored to the unique structure of glucose. Recently we have developed a second generation GMB [2] that binds glucose more strongly and with better selectivity than even the best enzyme [3] or boronic-acid-based [4] platforms. This unique GBM is the most significant scientific breakthrough ever discovered in the selective binding of glucose within aqueous media

We are using this GBM to produce the next generation of superbly accurate, versatile and interference-free optical glucose sensors using cutting-edge fluorescence techniques:

Ziylos GBM


[1] (a) Ke, C.; Destecroix, H.; Crump, M. P. and Davis, A. P. Nat. Chem. 2012, 4, 718–723. (b) Ke, C. and Davis, A. P. WO2013160701A1, Published: 31/10/2013

[2] Davis, A.P. (UK Nos 1704121.1 & 1704125.2).

[3] Cummins, B. M.; Garza, J. T.; and Coté, G. L. Anal. Chem. 2013, 85 (11), 5397–5404.

[4] Wu, X.; Li, Z.; Chen, X.-X.; Fossey, J. S.; James, T. D. and Jiang, Y.-B. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2013, 42, 8032-8048.