Biosensors2015, 5(1), 69-84; doi:10.3390/bios5010069 - published 5 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Food defense requires the means to efficiently screen large volumes of food for microbial pathogens. Even rapid detection methods often require lengthy enrichment steps, making them impractical for this application. There is a great need for rapid, sensitive, specific, and inexpensive methods for extracting and concentrating microbial pathogens from food. In this study, an immuno-magnetic separation (IMS) methodology was developed for Escherichia coli O157:H7, using electrically active magnetic nanoparticles (EAMNPs). The analytical specificity of the IMS method was evaluated against Escherichia coli O55:H7 and Shigella boydii, and was improved over previous protocols by the addition of sodium chloride during the conjugation of antibodies onto MNPs. The analytical sensitivity of the IMS method was greatest when a high concentration of antibodies (1.0 mg/mL) was present during conjugation. EAMNP concentrations of 1.0 and 0.5 mg/mL provided optimal analytical sensitivity and analytical specificity. The entire IMS procedure requires only 35 min, and antibody-conjugated MNPs show no decline in performance up to 149 days after conjugation. This analytically sensitive and specific extraction protocol has excellent longevity and shows promise as an effective extraction for multiple electrochemical biosensor applications.
Biosensors2015, 5(1), 51-68; doi:10.3390/bios5010051 - published 5 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The DNA sequence of the O-antigen gene clusters of Escherichia coli serogroups O62, O68, O131, O140, O142, and O163 was determined, and primers based on the wzx (O-antigen flippase) and/or wzy (O-antigen polymerase) genes within the O-antigen gene clusters were designed and used in PCR assays to identify each serogroup. Specificity was tested with E. coli reference strains, field isolates belonging to the target serogroups, and non-E. coli bacteria. The PCR assays were highly specific for the respective serogroups; however, the PCR assay targeting the O62 wzx gene reacted positively with strains belonging to E. coli O68, which was determined by serotyping. Analysis of the O-antigen gene cluster sequences of serogroups O62 and O68 reference strains showed that they were 94% identical at the nucleotide level, although O62 contained an insertion sequence (IS) element located between the rmlA and rmlC genes within the O-antigen gene cluster. A PCR assay targeting the rmlA and rmlC genes flanking the IS element was used to differentiate O62 and O68 serogroups. The PCR assays developed in this study can be used for the detection and identification of E. coli O62/O68, O131, O140, O142, and O163 strains isolated from different sources.
Biosensors2015, 5(1), 37-50; doi:10.3390/bios5010037 - published 27 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Direct, small-molecule determination of the antiepileptic drug, valproic acid, was investigated by a label-free, nanomechanical biosensor. Valproic acid has long been used as an antiepileptic medication, which is administered through therapeutic drug monitoring and has a narrow therapeutic dosage range of 50–100 μg·mL−1 in blood or serum. Unlike labeled and clinically-used measurement techniques, the label-free, electrical detection microcantilever biosensor can be miniaturized and simplified for use in portable or hand-held point-of-care platforms or personal diagnostic tools. A micromachined microcantilever sensor was packaged into the micro-channel of a fluidic system. The measurement of the antiepileptic drug, valproic acid, in phosphate-buffered saline and serum used a single free-standing, piezoresistive microcantilever biosensor in a thermally-controlled system. The measured surface stresses showed a profile over a concentration range of 50–500 μg·mL−1, which covered the clinically therapeutic range of 50–100 μg·mL−1. The estimated limit of detection (LOD) was calculated to be 45 μg·mL−1, and the binding affinity between the drug and the antibody was measured at around 90 ± 21 μg·mL−1. Lastly, the results of the proposed device showed a similar profile in valproic acid drug detection with those of the clinically-used fluorescence polarization immunoassay.
Biosensors2015, 5(1), 27-36; doi:10.3390/bios5010027 - published 19 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We used the interaction between human serum albumin (HSA) and a high-affinity antibody to evaluate binding affinity measurements by the bench-top liSPR system (capitalis technology GmbH). HSA was immobilized directly onto a carboxylated sensor layer, and the mechanism of interaction between the antibody and HSA was investigated. The bivalence and heterogeneity of the antibody caused a complex binding mechanism. Three different interaction models (1:1 binding, heterogeneous analyte, bivalent analyte) were compared, and the bivalent analyte model best fit the curves obtained from the assay. This model describes the interaction of a bivalent analyte with one or two ligands (A + L ↔ LA + L ↔ LLA). The apparent binding affinity for this model measured 37 pM for the first reaction step, and 20 pM for the second step.
Biosensors2015, 5(1), 13-24; doi:10.3390/bios5010013 - published 5 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Cell migration is a key contributor to wound repair. This study presents findings indicating that the liquid crystal based cell traction force transducer (LCTFT) system can be used in conjunction with a bespoke cell traction force mapping (CTFM) software to monitor cell/surface traction forces from quiescent state in real time. In this study, time-lapse photo microscopy allowed cell induced deformations in liquid crystal coated substrates to be monitored and analyzed. The results indicated that the system could be used to monitor the generation of cell/surface forces in an initially quiescent cell, as it migrated over the culture substrate, via multiple points of contact between the cell and the surface. Future application of this system is the real-time assaying of the pharmacological effects of cytokines on the mechanics of cell migration.