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Biosensors 2016, 6(1), 5;

Developing Biosensors in Developing Countries: South Africa as a Case Study

Biotechnology Innovation Centre, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pedro Estrela
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 23 January 2016 / Accepted: 27 January 2016 / Published: 2 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low-Cost Biosensors for Developing Countries)
Full-Text   |   PDF [243 KB, uploaded 2 February 2016]


A mini-review of the reported biosensor research occurring in South Africa evidences a strong emphasis on electrochemical sensor research, guided by the opportunities this transduction platform holds for low-cost and robust sensing of numerous targets. Many of the reported publications centre on fundamental research into the signal transduction method, using model biorecognition elements, in line with international trends. Other research in this field is spread across several areas including: the application of nanotechnology; the identification and validation of biomarkers; development and testing of biorecognition agents (antibodies and aptamers) and design of electro-catalysts, most notably metallophthalocyanine. Biosensor targets commonly featured were pesticides and metals. Areas of regional import to sub-Saharan Africa, such as HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis diagnosis, are also apparent in a review of the available literature. Irrespective of the targets, the challenge to the effective deployment of such sensors remains shaped by social and economic realities such that the requirements thereof are for low-cost and universally easy to operate devices for field settings. While it is difficult to disentangle the intertwined roles of national policy, grant funding availability and, certainly, of global trends in shaping areas of emphasis in research, most notable is the strong role that nanotechnology, and to a certain extent biotechnology, plays in research regarding biosensor construction. Stronger emphasis on collaboration between scientists in theoretical modelling, nanomaterials application and or relevant stakeholders in the specific field (e.g., food or health monitoring) and researchers in biosensor design may help evolve focused research efforts towards development and deployment of low-cost biosensors. View Full-Text
Keywords: South Africa; biosensors; nanotechnology; biotechnology; innovation; biorecognition South Africa; biosensors; nanotechnology; biotechnology; innovation; biorecognition
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Fogel, R.; Limson, J. Developing Biosensors in Developing Countries: South Africa as a Case Study. Biosensors 2016, 6, 5.

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