Design and Analytical Performances of a Diclofenac Biosensor for Water Resources Monitoring

August 31, 2021

Because the broadly consumed pain killer diclofenac (DCF) is a recognized pollutant, monitoring of its concentration is routinely performed in surface waters. As a valuable alternative to chromatographic and immunochemical assays, we developed a piezoelectric immunosensor to quantify DCF, first in buffer (PBS) and then in river water samples. A sensing layer comprising DCF was built up on the surface of silica-coated quartz sensors using a robust coupling chemistry. Binding of a highly affine monoclonal anti-DCF antibody was monitored in real time by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) measurements from which were determined a dissociation constant KD of 0.24 nM and an acoustic antibody surface coverage of 1120 ng/cm2 at saturation. On the other hand, an optical antibody surface coverage of 260 ng/cm2 was determined by combined nanoplasmonic sensing measurement, giving a hydration percentage of 75% for the antibody monolayer. DCF assay was further set up following a competitive format for which binding of antibody to the sensing layer is inhibited by DCF in solution. The piezoelectric sensor response expressed as frequency shift ΔF was inversely related to the concentration of DCF with a dynamic range of 15–46 nM and a limit of detection (LoD) of 9.5 nM (2.8 μg/L) in PBS. This piezoelectric immunosensor was eventually applied to the assay of DCF in surface water samples taken at three different locations in the Seine and Marne rivers. The calculated concentration of DCF in these samples was in good agreement with official data published by the French center of water analysis eaufrance.

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