Virus-Enabled Biosensor for Human Serum Albumin

The label-free detection of human serum albumin (HSA) in aqueous buffer is demonstrated using a simple, monolithic, two-electrode electrochemical biosensor. In this device, both millimeter-scale electrodes are coated with a thin layer of a composite containing M13 virus particles and the electronically conductive polymer poly­(3,4-ethylenedioxy thiophene) or PEDOT. These virus particles, engineered to selectively bind HSA, serve as receptors in this biosensor. The resistance component of the electrical impedance, <i>Z</i><sub>re</sub>, measured between these two electrodes provides electrical transduction of HSA binding to the virus-PEDOT film. The analysis of sample volumes as small as 50 μL is made possible using a microfluidic cell. Upon exposure to HSA, virus-PEDOT films show a prompt increase in <i>Z</i><sub>re</sub> within 5 s and a stable <i>Z</i><sub>re</sub> signal within 15 min. HSA concentrations in the range from 100 nM to 5 μM are detectable. Sensor-to-sensor reproducibility of the HSA measurement is characterized by a coefficient-of-variance (COV) ranging from 2% to 8% across this entire concentration range. In addition, virus-PEDOT sensors successfully detected HSA in synthetic urine solutions.