The development of a biosensor system capable of continuous, real-time measurement of small-molecule analytes directly in complex, unprocessed aqueous samples has been a significant challenge, and successful implementation has been achieved for only a limited number of targets. Toward a general solution to this problem, we report here the Microfluidic Electrochemical Aptamer-based Sensor (MECAS) chip wherein we integrate target-specific DNA aptamers that fold, and thus generate an electrochemical signal, in response to the analyte with a microfluidic detection system. As a model, we demonstrate the continuous, real-time (∼1 min time resolution) detection of the small-molecule drug cocaine at near physiological, low micromolar concentrations directly in undiluted, otherwise unmodified blood serum. We believe our approach of integrating folding-based electrochemical sensors with miniaturized detection systems may lay the groundwork for the real-time, point-of-care detection of a wide variety of molecular targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry