Although DNA has been quite successful in metal cation detection, anion detectioin remains challenging because of the charge repulsion. Metal oxides represent a very important class of materials, and different oxides might interact with anions differently. In this work, a comprehensive screen of common metal oxide nanoparticles (MONPs) was carried out for their ability to adsorb DNA, quench fluorescence, and release adsorbed DNA in the presence of target anions. A total of 19 MONPs were studied, including Al2O3, CeO2, CoO, Co3O4, Cr2O3, Fe2O3, Fe3O4, In2O3, ITO, Mn2O3, NiO, SiO2, SnO2, a-TiO2 (anatase), r-TiO2 (rutile), WO3, Y2O3, ZnO, ZrO2. These MONPs have different DNA adsorption affinity. Some adsorb DNA without quenching the fluorescence, while others strongly quench adsorbed fluorophores. They also display different affinity toward anions probed by DNA desorption. Finally, CeO2, Fe3O4, and ZnO were used to form a sensor array to discriminate phosphate, arsenate, and arsenite from the rest using linear discriminant analysis. This study not only provides a solution for anion discrimination using DNA as a signaling molecule but also provides insights into the interface of metal oxides and DNA.