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Colorimetric Determination of Salivary Cortisol Levels in Artificial Saliva for the Development of a Portable Colorimetric Sensor (Salitrack)

Ahmed, T., Powner, M. B. ORCID: 0000-0003-4913-1004, Qassem, M. & Kyriacou, P. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-2868-485X (2024). Colorimetric Determination of Salivary Cortisol Levels in Artificial Saliva for the Development of a Portable Colorimetric Sensor (Salitrack). Sci, 6(2), article number 20. doi: 10.3390/sci6020020


Mental illnesses, such as clinical depression, have taken an unprecedented toll on society and the economy on a global scale. The relationship between stress management and mental health decline is of utmost significance, especially as most avenues of mental health management remain inaccessible for the majority of the general public, i.e., interview-based, and face-to-face interventions or costly drug-based therapies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, regulates the stress response in the human body and, through persistent activation, can lead to chronic stress and mental health deterioration. Thereby, the measurement and evaluation of cortisol within saliva could harness potential developments in management and diagnostic tools to monitor physiological and psychological stress in simple point-of-care applications. The current study aims to determine the concentration of salivary cortisol in spiked artificial saliva samples using blue tetrazolium (BT) dye as a colorimetric indicator. The proposed method showcases the use of the BT dye as an effective method for the rapid measurement of salivary cortisol, with accuracy comparable to the gold-standard method for salivary cortisol analysis, enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISAs). Finally, a prototype colorimetric sensor has been developed for point-of-care applications of stress monitoring via salivary cortisol measurement.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Publisher Keywords: mental health; stress; cortisol monitoring; stress monitoring; salivary cortisol; colorimetry
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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