The work describes fabrication of structurally attractive CuO nanostructures using facile hydrothermal route. The nanostructures were synthesized by the application of suberic acid (SA),utilized both as an effective growth modifier and functionalizing agent. The dicarboxylic nature of SA allowed controlled growth of nanostructures and easy surface bound carbonyl functionalization. The SA-functionalized CuO nanostructures were observed to demonstrate high electro-catalytic potential for the oxidation of formoterol fumarate (FF) in aqueous medium. The high anodic current with low over potential observed for the CuO modified electrode enabled development of sensor system sensitive upto 0.01 mu M. The enhanced electrochemical response was considered a synergetic outcome of the high surface area of CuO nanostructures and the facilitated interactions between the surface bound suberic acid and FF. Moreover, the excellent recoveries obtained for the FF from the broiler feed matrix and human serum samples further reflects the analytical robustness of the developed sensor. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.