Magnetic Printing of a Biosensor: Inexpensive Rapid Sensing To Detect Picomolar Amounts of Antigen with Antibody-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes
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When an antibody (Ab) is immobilized on its surface, a carbon nanotube (CNT) becomes a biosensor that detects the corresponding antigen (Ag) because Ag-Ab complexes formed on the CNT surface moderate the current flow through it. We synthesized a biological ink containing CNTs that are twice functionalized, first with magnetic nanoparticles and thereafter with the anti-c-Myc monoclonal Ab. The ink is pipetted and dynamically self-organized by an external magnetic field into a dense electrically conducting sensor strip that measures the decrease in current when a sample containing c-Myc Ag is deposited on it. Prototypes are rapidly fabricated materials that cost less than 20 cents (Canadian) for each sensor. With larger current decreases due to real-time specific Ag-Ab binding for higher c-Myc concentrations, the biosensor distinguishes between picomolar c-Myc concentrations within a minute, offering proof of concept of a simple, rapid, economical, and sensitive method to detect specific molecules recognizable by Abs.
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