Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are hazardous environmental pollutants found in water, soil, and air. Exposure to this family of chemicals presents a danger to human health, and as a result, it is imperative to design methods that are able to detect PAHs in the environment, thus improving the quality of drinking water and agricultural soils. This review presents emerging immunoassay techniques used for in situ detection of PAH in water samples and how they compare to common-place techniques. It will discuss their advantages and disadvantages and why it is required to find new solutions to analyze water samples. These techniques are effective in reducing detection times and complexity of measurements. Immunoassay methods presented here are able to provide in situ analysis of PAH concentrations in a water sample, which can be a great complement to existing laboratory techniques due to their real-time screening and portability for immunoassay techniques. The discussion shows in detail the most relevant state-of-the-art surface functionalization techniques used in the field of immunosensors, with the aim to improve PAH detection capabilities. Specifically, three surface functionalization techniques are key approaches to improve the detection of PAHs, namely, substrate surface reaction, layer-by-layer technique, and redox-active probes. These techniques have shown promising improvements in the detection of PAHs in water samples, since they show a wider linear range and high level of sensitivity compared to traditional PAH detection techniques. This review explores the various methods used in the detection of PAH in water environments. It provides extra knowledge to scientists on the possible solutions that can be used to save time and resources. The combination of the solutions presented here shows great promise in the development of portable solutions that will be able to analyze a sample in a matter of minutes on the field.
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