Nanomaterial-Doped Xerogels for Biosensing Measurements of Xanthine in Clinical and Industrial Applications




First-generation amperometric xanthine (XAN) biosensors, assembled via layer-by-layer methodology and featuring xerogels doped with gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs), were the focus of this study and involved both fundamental exploration of the materials as well as demonstrated usage of the biosensor in both clinical (disease diagnosis) and industrial (meat freshness) applications. Voltammetry and amperometry were used to characterize and optimize the functional layers of the biosensor design including a xerogel with and without embedded xanthine oxidase enzyme (XOx) and an outer, semi-permeable blended polyurethane (PU) layer. Specifically, the porosity/hydrophobicity of xerogels formed from silane precursors and different compositions of PU were examined for their impact on the XAN biosensing mechanism. Doping the xerogel layer with different alkanethiol protected Au-NPs was demonstrated as an effective means for enhancing biosensor performance including improved sensitivity, linear range, and response time, as well as stabilizing XAN sensitivity and discrimination against common interferent species (selectivity) over time—all attributes matching or exceeding most other reported XAN sensors. Part of the study focuses on deconvoluting the amperometric signal generated by the biosensor and determining the contribution from all of the possible electroactive species involved in natural purine metabolism (e.g., uric acid, hypoxanthine) as an important part of designing XAN sensors (schemes amenable to miniaturization, portability, or low production cost). Effective XAN sensors remain relevant as potential tools for both early diagnosis of diseases as well as for industrial food monitoring.

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© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (