Effectiveness of Sensors Contact Metallization (Ti, Au, and Ru) and Biofunctionalization for Escherichia coli Detection

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Sep 2;18(9):2912. doi: 10.3390/s18092912.


In designing a bacteria biosensor, various issues must be addressed: the specificity of bacteria recognition, the immobilization of biomolecules that act as the bacteria receptor, and the selectivity of sensor surface. The aim of this paper was to examine how the biofunctionalized surface of Ti, Au, and Ru metals reacts in contact with strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli). The focus on metal surfaces results from their future use as electrodes in high frequency biosensors, e.g., resonant circuits or transmission-line sections. First, the surfaces of different metals were chemically functionalized with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) and glutaraldehyde or with 3-glycidylooxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) followed by N-(5-amino-1-carboxypentyl) iminodiacetic acid (AB-NTA) and NiCl₂. Secondly, the lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), polyclonal anti-Escherichia coli antibody and bacteriophage protein gp37 were tested as bacteria receptors. The selectivity and specificity have been confirmed by the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and visualized by scanning electron microscopy at low landing energies. We noticed that LBP, polyclonal antibody, and gp37 were successfully immobilized on all studied metals and recognized the E. coli bacteria selectively. However, for the antibody, the highest reactivity was observed when Ti surface was modified, whereas the bacteria binding was comparable between LBP and gp37 on the functionalized Ru surfaces, independent from modification. Thus, all surfaces were biocompatible within the scope of biosensor functionality, with titanium functionalization showing the best performance.

Keywords: E. coli detection; gold; label-free biosensor; metallization; microwave-based biosensor; ruthenium; titanium.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Electrodes
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification*
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Ruthenium / chemistry*
  • Titanium / chemistry*


  • Gold
  • Ruthenium
  • Titanium