<i>Listeria monocytogenes</i> is one of the most common causes of food illness deaths worldwide, with multiple outbreaks in the United States alone. Current methods to detect foodborne pathogens are laborious and can take several hours to days to produce results. Thus, faster techniques are needed to detect bacteria within the same reliability level as traditional techniques. This study reports on a rapid, accurate, and sensitive aptamer biosensor device for <i>Listeria </i>spp. detection based on platinum interdigitated array microelectrodes (Pt-IDEs). Pt-IDEs with different geometric electrode gaps were fabricated by lithographic techniques and characterized by cyclic voltammetric (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and potential amperometry (DCPA) measurements of reversible redox species. Based on these results, 50 μm Pt-IDE was chosen to further functionalize with a <i>Listeria monocytogenes</i> DNA aptamer selective to the cell surface protein internalin A, via metal-thiol self-assembly at the 5' end of the 47-mer's. EIS analysis was used to detect <i>Listeria </i>spp. without the need for label amplification and pre-concentration steps. The optimized aptamer concentration of 800 nM was selected to capture the bacteria through internalin A binding and the aptamer hairpin structure near the 3' end. The aptasensor was capable of detecting a wide range of bacteria concentration from 10 to 10<sup>6</sup> CFU/mL at lower detection limit of 5.39 ± 0.21 CFU/mL with sensitivity of 268.1 ± 25.40 (Ohms/log [CFU/mL]) in 17 min. The aptamer based biosensor offers a portable, rapid and sensitive alternative for food safety applications with one of the lowest detection limits reported to date.
Graphene paper has diverse applications in printed circuit board electronics, bioassays, 3D cell culture, and biosensing. Although development of nanometal-graphene hybrid composites is commonplace in the sensing literature, to date there are only a few examples of nanometal-decorated graphene paper for use in biosensing. In this manuscript, we demonstrate the synthesis and application of Pt nano cauliflower-functionalized graphene paper for use in electrochemical biosensing of small molecules (glucose, acetone, methanol) or detection of pathogenic bacteria (<i>Escherichia coli </i>O157:H7). Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy were used to show that graphene oxide deposited on nanocellulose crystals was partially reduced by both thermal and chemical treatment. Fractal platinum nanostructures were formed on the reduced graphene oxide paper, producing a conductive paper with an extremely high electroactive surface area, confirmed by cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. To show the broad applicability of the material, the platinum surface was functionalized with three different biomaterials: 1) glucose oxidase (via chitosan encapsulation); 2) a DNA aptamer (via covalent linking), or 3) a chemosensory protein (via his linking). We demonstrate the application of this device for point of care biosensing. The detection limit for both glucose (0.08 ± 0.02 μM) and <i>E. coli</i> O157:H7 (1.3 ± 0.1 CFU mL<sub>-1</sub>) were competitive with, or superior to, previously reported devices in the biosensing literature. The response time (6 sec for glucose and 10 min for <i>E. coli</i>) were also similar to silicon biochip and commercial electrode sensors. The results demonstrate that the nanocellulose-graphene-nanoplatinum material is an excellent paper-based platform for development of electrochemical biosensors targeting small molecules or whole cells for use in point of care biosensing.