Special Issue "Enzymatic Biosensors"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2013).
Interests: enzymatic sensors; affinity sensors; bioelectronics; bionanotechnology; biosensors; bioelectrochemistry
The glucose biosensor, a device that changed the lives of millions affected by diabetes, is a one remarkable example of enzyme-based biosensor technology. Enzyme sensors are a major part of biosensorics - technology, which currently represents a mature analogue to instrumental analytical techniques in areas of clinical diagnostics and is the leading technology in point-of-care analysis.
Enzyme biosensors employ the affinity and selectivity of catalytically active proteins, towards their target molecules. Typically, (enzyme,usually immobilized on/within the surface of transducer - acts as a catalyst when interacting with the analyte, represented by its substrate, inhibitor, co-substrate or co-factor, while the enzyme itself remains unchanged. The transducer converts the effect created by the interaction of enzyme with the analyte, usually into an electrical signal. Depending on the assay type, two fundamental classes of enzyme sensors can be distinguished. First, the enzyme detects the presence of a substrate, or co-substrate/co-factor. This is then, by way of a transducer, used to monitor the increase of enzymatic activity. A typical example is a glucose biosensor. The second group is based on the detection of inhibitors in the presence of a substrate. With this system the decrease of signal (caused by enzyme inhibition) is monitored. The most common example of this approach is the detection of organophosphate compounds used as pesticides or warfare nerve agents. The mode of signal transduction can be electrochemical, optical, resonant (acoustic), thermal etc. The major advantage of all of these approaches is the high sensitivity and specificity of the biorecognition of a single selected analyte.
There have been significant improvements in the field of enzymatic biosensors; the usage of new, genetically engineered enzymes has allowed for improved performance characteristics of current biosensors for the detection of established analytes (glucose, pesticides etc….). Advancement has been the utilization of genetically modified enzymes to detect novel markers. An additional group of improvements is the usage of “non-traditional” transducer materials, e.g. carbon nanotubes (CNT), or different conductive polymers. Remarkable structural and electrical property advancements have enabled new options mainly in the area of electrochemical sensing technologies.
Developments are not always based on novel materials, but also on new, original approaches. One example, of such an innovation is the recently emerging field of biomolecular computing (Biocomputing). This is where enzymatic sensing systems are used to perform various computing operations that mimic processes typical of electronic computing devices. Such approaches, with their sophisticated biomolecular design, have resulted in reversible, reconfigurable, and resettable “bio-logic” sensing architectures (gates) for processing chemical information. This is especially useful in enzymatic biosensor applications where, until now, the use of biosensor or bioassay arrays have been required for a simultaneous analysis of several different species
The technology of enzymatic biosensors offers a potent combination of performance and analytical features not available in any other bioanalytical system. The listing of just a few options in this overview can encourage future development, which could yield new generations of enzymatic biosensors for a wide range of applications in clinical, environmental or industrial diagnostics.
Dr. Jan Halámek
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