CO2, meet O2

A new type of sensor that can measure carbon dioxide and oxygen levels simultaneously without interference has been devised by Otto Wolfbeis and colleagues at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The sensor could revolutionize studies of plant respiration and photosynthesis, an area until now plagued by interference in which only one of the two gases could be determined at a time. It could also have application in the food and drink industry as well as in the biotech industry where fermentation and related plant processes are important. "It is likely to become a powerful tool in combinatorial microbiology, in cell-based screening for drugs, and in biomonitoring in general," Wolfbeis explains. "In combination with fiber optic microsensors, in vivo sensing of oxygen and carbon dioxide should be possible."