Abstract: We report on a method for selective optical sensing and imaging of potassium ions using a sandwich assembly composed of layers of photonic crystals and an ion-selective membrane. This represents a new scheme for sensing ions in that an ionic strength-sensitive photonic crystal hydrogel layer is combined with a K+-selective membrane. The latter consists of plasticized poly(vinyl chloride) doped with the K+-selective ion carrier, valinomycin. The film has a red color if immersed into plain water, but is green in 5 mM KCl and purple at KCl concentrations of 100 mM or higher. This 3D photonic crystal sensor responds to K+ ions in the 1 to 50 mM concentration range (which includes the K+ concentration range encountered in blood) and shows high selectivity over ammonium and sodium ions. Sensor films were also imaged with a digital camera by exploiting the RGB technique.
Abstract: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are single nucleotide variations which comprise the most wide spread source of genetic diversity in the genome. Currently, SNPs serve as markers for genetic predispositions, clinically evident disorders and diverse drug responses. Present SNP diagnostics are primarily based on enzymatic reactions in different formats including sequencing, polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) and microarrays. In these assays, the enzymes are applied to address the required sensitivity and specificity when detecting SNP. On the other hand, the development of enzyme-free, simple and robust SNP sensing methods is in a constant focus in research and industry as such assays allow rapid and reproducible SNP diagnostics without the need for expensive equipment and reagents. An ideal method for detection of SNP would entail mixing a DNA or RNA target with a probe to directly obtain a signal. Current assays are still not fulfilling these requirements, although remarkable progress has been achieved in recent years. In this review, current SNP sensing approaches are described with a main focus on recently introduced direct, enzyme-free and ultrasensitive SNP sensing by optical methods.
Abstract: Inhibition-based biosensors were developed by immobilizing tyrosinase (Tyr, polyphenol oxidase) from the crude extract of avocado fruit on electrochemically prepared polypyrrole (PPy) films. The biosensors were prepared during the electropolymerization of pyrrole in a solution containing a fixed volume of the crude extract of avocado. The dependence of the biosensor responses on the volume used from the crude extract, values of pH and temperature was studied, and a substrate, catechol, at different concentrations, was amperometrically detected by these biosensors. Benzoic acid, a competitive inhibitor of Try, was added to the catechol solutions at specific concentrations aimed at obtaining the inhibition constant, K’m, which ranged from 1.7 to 4.6 mmol∙L−1 for 0.0 and 60 µmol∙L−1 of benzoic acid, respectively. Studies on the inhibition caused by benzoic acid by using PPy/Try films, and catechol as a substrate, allowed us propose how to develop, under optimized conditions, simple and low-cost biosensors based on the use of avocado fruit.
Abstract: An innovative and low-cost method is proposed for the detection and discrimination of indole-positive pathogen bacteria. The method allows the non-invasive detection of gaseous indole, released by bacteria, with nanoporous colorimetric sensors. The innovation comes from the use of nanoporous matrices doped with 4-(dimethylamino)-cinnamaldehyde, which act as sponges to trap and concentrate the targeted analyte and turn from transparent to dark green, long before the colonies get visible with naked eyes. With such sensors, it was possible to discriminate E. coli from H. alvei, two indole-positive and negative bacteria after seven hours of incubation.
Abstract: Thin films of analyte-specific hydrogels were combined with microfabricated piezoresistive pressure transducers to obtain chemomechanical sensors that can serve as selective biochemical sensors for a continuous monitoring of metabolites. The gel swelling pressure has been monitored in simulated physiological solutions by means of the output signal of piezoresistive sensors.The interference by fructose, human serum albumin, pH, and ionic concentration on glucose sensing was studied. With the help of a database containing the calibration curves of the hydrogel-based sensors at different values of pH and ionic strength, the corrected values of pH and glucose concentration were determined using a novel calibration algorithm.
Abstract: This effort evaluated the potential of two prototype devices for enhanced electrochemical detection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and dinitrotoluene (DNT) following preconcentration using an organosilicate sorbent. The bench-scale prototype provides adsorption of the targets from aqueous solution followed by elution in a mixture of methanol and potassium chloride (KCl). Following elution, the eluant is diluted using an aqueous KCl solution to provide sufficient electrolyte for electrochemical analysis. Concentrations of methanol greater than 50% were detrimental to sensor performance and lifetime. Calibration of the electrochemical sensor was completed and results of electrochemical analysis were compared to those of HPLC analysis over a range of concentrations and in varied matrices. TNT detection was found to be consistent and detection limits were improved from 200 ppb to 3 ppb depending on the sample volume utilized. DNT detection showed higher variability and significantly greater false response rates. On the basis of these results, a second, more advanced, prototype was developed and utilized in limited field trials with the intention of moving the technology toward in situ applications.