Label-free ITO-based immunosensor for the detection of very low concentrations of pathogenic bacteria

M. Barreiros dos Santos, S. Azevedo, J. P. Agusil, B. Prieto-Simón, C. Sporer, E. Torrents, A. Juárez, V. Teixeira, J. Samitier

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Here we describe the fabrication of a highly sensitive and label-free ITO-based impedimetric immunosensor for the detection of pathogenic bacteria Escherichia coli O157:H7. Anti-E. coli antibodies were immobilized onto ITO electrodes using a simple, robust and direct methodology. First, the covalent attachment of epoxysilane on the ITO surface was demonstrated by Atomic Force Microscopy and cyclic voltammetry. The immobilization of antibody on the epoxysilane layer was quantified by Optical Waveguide Lightmode Spectroscopy, obtaining a mass variation of 12ngcm-2 (0.08pmolcm-2). Microcontact printing and fluorescence microscopy were used to demonstrate the specific binding of E. coli O157:H7 to the antibody-patterned surface. We achieved a ratio of 1:500 Salmonella typhimurium/E. coli O157:H7, thus confirming the selectivity of the antibodies and efficiency of the functionalization procedure. Finally, the detection capacity of the ITO-based immunosensor was evaluated by Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. A very low limit of detection was obtained (1CFUmL-1) over a large linear working range (10-106CFUmL-1). The specificity of the impedimetric immunosensor was also examined. Less than 20% of non-specific bacteria (S. typhimurium and E. coli K12) was observed. Our results reveal the applicability of ITO for the development of highly sensitive and selective impedimetric immunosensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-152
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy
  • Immunosensor
  • Indium tin oxide
  • Label-free detection

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