Polyaniline protected gold nanoparticles (PPAuNPs) were electrophoretically deposited onto a gold electrode, and utilized to fabricate an electrochemical cortisol biosensor. Cortisol specific monoclonal antibody (C-Mab) was covalently immobilized onto the surface of a PPAuNP/Au electrode using N-ethyl-N'-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide and N-hydroxysuccinimide (EDC/NHS) chemistry. BSA was employed for blocking nonspecific adsorption on the electrode surface. PPAuNP formation and BSA/C-Mab/PPAuNP/Au electrode fabrication were characterized using transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and electrochemical impedance techniques, respectively. Cyclic voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetric techniques were used to determine the cortisol concentration in a phosphate buffer saline (PBS) solution. Results confirmed that the PPAuNP based electrode was stable during repeated scans and exhibited repeatable redox peaks. Further, the BSA/C-Mab/PPAuNP/Au electrode in the PBS buffer accurately detected cortisol in the range of 1 pM-100 nM with a sensitivity of 1.63 μAM(-1). The biosensor was found to be selective against BSA and 17-α-hydroxy progesterone. This research establishes the feasibility of using a PPAuNP based matrix for a label and mediator free electrochemical biosensor for cortisol, a stress biomarker.
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