Electrospun nanofibers (ENFs) are remarkable analytical tools for quantitative analysis since they are inexpensive, easily produced in uniform homogenous mats, and provide a high surface area-to-volume ratio. Taking advantage of these characteristics, a near-infrared (NIR)-dye was doped as chemosensor into ENFs of about 500 nm in diameter electrospun into 50 µm thick mats on indium tin oxide (ITO) supports. The mats were made of cellulose acetate (CA) and used as a sensor layer on optical dipsticks for the determination of biogenic amines (BAs) in food. The ENFs contained the chromogenic amine-reactive chameleon dye S0378 which is green and turns blue upon formation of a dye-BA conjugate. This SN
1-reaction of the S0378 dye with various BAs was monitored by reflectance measurements at 635 nm where the intrinsic absorption of biological material is low. The difference of the reflectance before and after the reaction is proportional to BA levels from 0.04–1 mM. The LODs are in the range from 0.03–0.09 mM, concentrations that can induce food poisoning but are not recognized by the human nose. The calibration plots of histamine, putrescine, spermidine, and tyramine are very similar and suggesting the use of the dipsticks to monitor the total sample BA content. Furthermore, the dipsticks are selective to primary amines (both mono- and diamines) and show low interference towards most nucleophiles. A minute interference of proteins in real samples can be overcome by appropriate sample pretreatment. Hence, the ageing of seafood samples could be monitored via their total BA content which rose up to 21.7 ± 3.2 µmol/g over six days of storage. This demonstrates that optically doped NFs represent viable sensor and transducer materials for food analysis with dipsticks.
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