The development of pH-based fiber optic biosensors and their uses in clinical and biotechnological applications are described. Based on a pH-sensitive optode, different biosensors for urea, penicillin, glucose and creatinine were developed. A multichannel modular fluorimeter was used to measure signals from up to three optodes simultaneously. The pH value and the buffer capacity are critical factors for biosensors based on pH probes and influence the biosensor signal. A flow injection analysis (FIA) system is used to eliminate the latter influences. With this integrated system, samples can be analyzed sequentially by the injection of a defined volume of each sample into a continuously flowing buffer stream that transports the samples to the sensors. The complex signal is transformed and analyzed by a computer system. Characteristic features of the FIA peak give information about the buffer capacity in the solution. With the help of intelligent computing (neural networks) it is possible to recognize these features and relate them to the respective buffer capacity to obtain more accurate values. Various applications of these biosensors are discussed. The pH optode is also used to monitor enzymatic reactions in non aqueous solvents. In this case the production of acetic acid can be detected on line.
In clinical chemistry, sensors are needed that can detect small analyte concentrations in complex physiological media. During hemodialysis it is especially important to determine the urea concentration on line in order to monitor the completion of the purification. In this paper we describe a multicomponent fiberoptical biosensor for use in hemodialysis monitoring. Since no substrate flow is required in the sensor head, this technology is especially suited for monitoring in physiological solutions (no electrical contact to the patient is necessary).