Divalent ion-induced aggregation of gold nanoparticles for voltammetry Immunosensing: comparison of transducer signals in an assay for the squamous cell carcinoma antigen


A method is described for the electrochemical determination of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) antigen, and by testing the effect of 30 nm gold nanoparticles (GNPs). Three comparative studies were performed in the presence and absence of GNPs, and with agglomerated GNPs. The divalent ion Ca(II) was used to induce a strong agglomeration of GNPs, as confirmed by colorimetry and voltammetry. Herein, colorimetry was used to test the best amount of salt needed to aggregate the GNPs. Despite, voltammetry was used to determine the status of biomolecules on the sensor. The topography of the surface of ZnO-coated interdigitated electrodes was analyzed by using 3D-nano profilometry, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and high-power microscopy. The interaction between SCC antigen and antibody trigger vibrations on the sensor and cause dipole moment, which was measured using a picoammeter with a linear sweep from 0 to 2 V at 0.01 V step voltage. The sensitivity level was 10 fM by 3σ calculation for the dispersed GNP-conjugated antigen. This indicates a 100-fold enhancement compared to the condition without GNP conjugation. However, the sensitivity level for agglomerated GNPs conjugated antibody was not significant with 100 fM sensitivity. Specificity was tested for other proteins in serum, namely blood clotting factor IX, C-reactive protein, and serum albumin. The SCC antigen was quantified in spiked serum and gave recoveries that ranged between 80 and 90%.

Schematic representation of SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) antigen determination using divalent ion induced agglomerated GNPs. Sensitivity increment depends on the occurrence of more SCC antigen and antibody binding event via GNPs integration. Notably, lower detection limit was achieved at femto molar with proper orientation of biological molecules.

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Letchumanan, I., Gopinath, S.C.B. & Arshad, M.K.M. Divalent ion-induced aggregation of gold nanoparticles for voltammetry Immunosensing: comparison of transducer signals in an assay for the squamous cell carcinoma antigen. Microchim Acta 187, 128 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-020-4115-0

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  • Dielectric sensing
  • Zinc oxide
  • Interdigitated electrode
  • Colorimetry
  • Agglomeration
  • Dispersion
  • Blood disease
  • Cancer
  • Biosensor