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Aptamer-Based Biosensors to Detect Aquatic Phycotoxins and Cyanotoxins

CIIMAR/CIMAR—Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Av. General Norton de Matos, s/n, 4450-238 Matosinhos, Portugal
ISEP—Biomark, Sensors Research, School of Engineering, Polytechnic of Porto, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 431, 4249-015 Porto, Portugal
CEB/Centro de Engenharia Biológica, Minho University, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
FCUP—Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2367;
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 7 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
Aptasensors have a great potential for environmental monitoring, particularly for real-time on-site detection of aquatic toxins produced by marine and freshwater microorganisms (cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, and diatoms), with several advantages over other biosensors that are worth considering. Freshwater monitoring is of vital importance for public health, in numerous human activities, and animal welfare, since these toxins may cause fatal intoxications. Similarly, in marine waters, very effective monitoring programs have been put in place in many countries to detect when toxins exceed established regulatory levels and accordingly enforce shellfish harvesting closures. Recent advances in the fields of aptamer selection, nanomaterials and communication technologies, offer a vast array of possibilities to develop new imaginative strategies to create improved, ultrasensitive, reliable and real-time devices, featuring unique characteristics to produce and amplify the signal. So far, not many strategies have been used to detect aquatic toxins, mostly limited to the optic and electrochemical sensors, the majority applied to detect microcystin-LR using a target-induced switching mode. The limits of detection of these aptasensors have been decreasing from the nM to the fM order of magnitude in the past 20 years. Aspects related to sensor components, performance, aptamers sequences, matrices analyzed and future perspectives, are considered and discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental monitoring; aptasensors; emerging toxins; harmful algal blooms; food and water safety; climate change environmental monitoring; aptasensors; emerging toxins; harmful algal blooms; food and water safety; climate change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cunha, I.; Biltes, R.; Sales, M.; Vasconcelos, V. Aptamer-Based Biosensors to Detect Aquatic Phycotoxins and Cyanotoxins. Sensors 2018, 18, 2367.

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