Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 5, pp 1053–1065 | Cite as

Electrochemical surface plasmon resonance (EC-SPR) aptasensor for ampicillin detection

  • Adrian Blidar
  • Bogdan Feier
  • Mihaela Tertis
  • Ramona GalatusEmail author
  • Cecilia CristeaEmail author
Research Paper


Surface plasmon resonance technique is highly sensitive to various processes taking place on a metal film and it has emerged as a powerful label-free method to study molecular binding processes taking place on a surface. Another important but less explored area of applications is the use of hybrid methods which combine electrochemistry with optical methods for better monitoring and understanding of biochemical processes. A detection method based on surface plasmon resonance was developed for ampicillin, applying electrochemical techniques for the elaboration and characterization of the aptasensing platform used in this study. Ampicillin is a broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotic, used both in human and veterinary medicine for the treatment and prevention of primary respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and skin bacterial infections. It is widely used because of its broad spectrum and low cost. This widespread use can result in the presence of residues in the environment and in food leading to health problems for individuals who are hypersensitive to penicillins. The gold chip was functionalized through potential-assisted immobilization, using multipulse amperometry, first with a thiol-terminated aptamer, as a specific ligand and secondly, using the same procedure, with mercaptohexanol, used to cover the unoccupied binding sites on the gold surface in order to prevent the nonspecific adsorption of ampicillin molecules. After establishing the optimal conditions for the chip functionalization, different concentrations of ampicillin were detected in real time, in the range of 2.5–1000 μmol L−1, with a limit of detection of 1 μmol L−1, monitoring the surface plasmon resonance response. The selectivity of the aptasensor was proven in the presence of other antibiotics and drugs, and the method was successfully applied for the detection of ampicillin from river water.

Graphical abstract


Ampicillin SPR aptasensor Antibiotic detection Multipulse amperometry QCM Electrochemical surface plasmon resonance (EC-SPR) 


Funding information

This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS/CCCDI-UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P2-2.1-PED-2016-0172, within PNCDI III. Also, this work was supported by a grant of the Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-1132, within PNCDI III.

Compliance with ethical standards

All experiments were performed in compliance with the guidelines of the “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and its Ethics Committee for Scientific Research approved the experiments. The human and animal rights have been respected.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1533_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1.77 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Analytical Chemistry“Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and PharmacyCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunication and Information Technology, Basis of Electronics DepartmentTechnical University of Cluj-NapocaCluj-NapocaRomania

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