Part of the book: Environmental Biosensors
The development of electrochemical sensors has attracted great interest due to these sensors’ high sensitivity and selectivity. Here, we present the general concept and the classification of biosensors, their advantages and drawbacks, the main strategies in electrochemical biosensor technology and the materials used in electrochemical sensors, such as electrodes and supporting substrates, materials for improved sensitivity and selectivity, materials for bioreceptor immobilization, and biological recognition elements. Various nanomaterials, such as carbon-based materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, carbon nanoparticles), inorganic and organic nanoparticles (magnetic and metal nanoparticles, nanosized clays), conductive and insulating polymers (nanosized and nanostructured polymers, molecularly imprinted polymers), and hybrid materials, etc., have been successfully applied for the enhancement of the electroanalytical performance of biosensors and for the immobilization of biorecognition elements. Among these, due to their unique physiochemical features, carbon-based materials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphenes, have received special attention in recent years, and examples of surface functionalization using various types of nanoparticles are presented. The future trends in sensor research activities and areas of development that are expected to have an impact in biosensor performance, like immobilization techniques, nanotechnology, miniaturization and multisensor array determinations, are also examined.
Part of the book: Biosensors
Immunosensors are solid-state devices in which the immunochemical reaction is coupled to a transducer. They form one of the most important classes of affinity biosensors based on the specific recognition of antigens by antibodies to form a stable complex, in a similar way to immunoassay. Depending on the type of transducer there are four types of immunosensor: electrochemical, optical, microgravimetric and thermometric. The most commonly used bioelements for the development of electrochemical immunosensors are antibodies (Ab), followed by aptamers (Apt) and, in the last five years, microRNA (miRNA). In order to perform an early diagnosis, a method that is able to measure peptides and proteins directly in a sample, without any sample pre-treatment or any separation, is preferred. This direct detection can be performed with methods making use of the specific interaction of proteins with Ab, Apt and miRNA. The recent developments made in the immunosensor field, regarding the incorporation of nanomaterials for increased sensitivity, multiplexing or microfluidic-based devices, may have potential for promising use in industry and clinical analysis. Some examples of assays for several commercially available biomarkers will be presented. The main application fields, beside biomedical analysis, are drug abuse control, food analysis and environmental analysis.
Part of the book: Biosensors