Non-biological inhibition-based sensing (NIBS) demonstrated for the detection of toxic arsenic compounds

Chemosphere. 2011 Mar;82(11):1644-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.11.042. Epub 2010 Dec 17.


This work demonstrates the success of a recently developed technique in chemical amplification, non-biological inhibition-based sensing (NIBS), for the detection of toxic arsenic compounds. Screening for toxic arsenic compounds is especially important due to their prevalence in wastewater and water sources. The detection method presented in this work amplifies the chemical response of toxic arsenic compounds by developing a sensor chemistry where the analyte inhibits, rather than enhances, the rate of a catalytic reaction. This technique mimics the work done with enzyme inhibition; however, using non-biological molecules allows for selective detection without the shelf-life issue associated with biological molecules. Using NIBS we find that we can enhance the sensitivity of the system by two orders of magnitude with no apparent loss in selectivity. This work demonstrates the versatility of NIBS, showing that the technique can be of general use for the detection of toxic compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Arsenic / chemistry
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Arsenicals / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Arsenicals
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Arsenic
  • phenarsazine chloride