Pathogen-Imprinted Organosiloxane Polymers as Selective Biosensors for the Detection of Targeted E. coli

C (Basel). 2018 May 14;4(2):29. doi: 10.3390/c4020029.


Early detection of pathogens requires methods that are fast, selective, sensitive and affordable. We report the development of a biosensor with high sensitivity and selectivity based on the low-cost preparation of organosiloxane (OSX) polymers imprinted with E. coli-GFP (green fluorescent protein). OSX polymers with high optical transparency, no cracking, and no shrinkage were prepared by varying several parameters of the sol-gel reaction. The unique shape and chemical fingerprint of the targeted inactivated E. coli-GFP were imprinted into bulk polymers by replication imprinting where the polymer solution was dropcast onto a bacteria template that produced a replica of the bacterial shape and chemistry on the polymer surface upon removal of the template. Capture performances were studied under non-laminar flow conditions with samples containing inactivated E. coli-GFP and compared to inactivated S. typhimurium-GFP. Capture selectivity ratios are dependent on the type of alkoxysilanes used, the H2O:silane molar ratio, and the polymerization temperature. The bacteria concentration in suspension ranged from ~6 × 105 to 1.6 × 109 cells/mL. E. coli-imprinted OSX polymers with polyethylene glycol (PEG) differentiated between the targeted bacterium E. coli, and non-targeted bacteria S. typhimurium and native E. coli-GFP, achieving selectivity ratios up to 4.5 times higher than polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and OSX polymers without PEG.

Keywords: E coli; bacteria template; biosensor; imprinting; organosiloxane; selectivity ratio; sensitivity; sol–gel.