Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 9, pp 2363–2375 | Cite as

An ultrasensitive hollow-silica-based biosensor for pathogenic Escherichia coli DNA detection

  • Eda Yuhana Ariffin
  • Yook Heng Lee
  • Dedi Futra
  • Ling Ling Tan
  • Nurul Huda Abd Karim
  • Nik Nuraznida Nik Ibrahim
  • Asmat Ahmad
Research Paper


A novel electrochemical DNA biosensor for ultrasensitive and selective quantitation of Escherichia coli DNA based on aminated hollow silica spheres (HSiSs) has been successfully developed. The HSiSs were synthesized with facile sonication and heating techniques. The HSiSs have an inner and an outer surface for DNA immobilization sites after they have been functionalized with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane. From field emission scanning electron microscopy images, the presence of pores was confirmed in the functionalized HSiSs. Furthermore, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) analysis indicated that the HSiSs have four times more surface area than silica spheres that have no pores. These aminated HSiSs were deposited onto a screen-printed carbon paste electrode containing a layer of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to form a AuNP/HSiS hybrid sensor membrane matrix. Aminated DNA probes were grafted onto the AuNP/HSiS-modified screen-printed electrode via imine covalent bonds with use of glutaraldehyde cross-linker. The DNA hybridization reaction was studied by differential pulse voltammetry using an anthraquinone redox intercalator as the electroactive DNA hybridization label. The DNA biosensor demonstrated a linear response over a wide target sequence concentration range of 1.0×10-12–1.0×10-2 μM, with a low detection limit of 8.17×10-14 μM (R2 = 0.99). The improved performance of the DNA biosensor appeared to be due to the hollow structure and rough surface morphology of the hollow silica particles, which greatly increased the total binding surface area for high DNA loading capacity. The HSiSs also facilitated molecule diffusion through the silica hollow structure, and substantially improved the overall DNA hybridization assay.

Graphical abstract

Step-by-step DNA biosensor fabrication based on aminated hollow silica spheres


Electrochemical DNA biosensor E. coli DNA detection Hollow silica spheres Immobilization Hybridization 



We acknowledge the National University of Malaysia for providing grants GP-5179 and DPP-2016-064 and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovative Nanotechnology Directorate for grant NND/ND/(2)/TD11-009.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eda Yuhana Ariffin
    • 1
  • Yook Heng Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dedi Futra
    • 3
  • Ling Ling Tan
    • 2
  • Nurul Huda Abd Karim
    • 1
  • Nik Nuraznida Nik Ibrahim
    • 4
  • Asmat Ahmad
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Chemical Sciences and Food Technology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative, Institute for Environment and DevelopmentUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry Education, Faculty of EducationUniversitas RiauPekan BaruIndonesia
  4. 4.School of Biosciences and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaBangiMalaysia

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