Sensitive and selective methanol biosensor using two-enzyme cascade reaction and fluorometry for non-invasive assessment of intestinal bacteria activity

Biosens Bioelectron. 2021 Jun 1;181:113136. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2021.113136. Epub 2021 Mar 4.


For understanding the status of intestinal flora non-invasively, methanol (MeOH) has been attracting the attention. In this study, we have developed and compared two different liquid-phase methanol biosensors. One, referred to as the AOD electrosensor, utilized alcohol oxidase (AOD) and an oxygen electrode. It electrochemically measured the decrease in oxygen through AOD-catalyzed oxidation of MeOH. The other, referred to as the AOD-FALDH fluorosensor, exploited a cascade reaction of AOD and formaldehyde dehydrogenase (FALDH) in conjunction with a fiber-optic sensor. It measured increase in the fluorescence from reduced form of β-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) that was a final product of the two-enzyme cascade reaction. Due to the cascade reaction, the AOD-FALDH fluorosensor showed 3 times better sensitivity along with 335 times wider dynamic range (494 nM-100 mM) than those of the AOD electrosensor (1.5-300 μM). The selectivity to MeOH was also improved by the cascade reaction with AOD-FALDH as no sensor output was observed from other aliphatic alcohols than MeOH in contrast to the AOD electrosensor. Although the use of FALDH resulted in the increase in the sensor output from aldehydes, such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, considering their concentrations in body fluids, the influence on the sensor output is limited. These results indicate that incorporating the cascade reaction into fluorometry enables enhanced biosensing of MeOH that will be useful for assessment of intestinal flora with little burden.

Keywords: Enzymatic cascade reaction; Fluorescence; Intestinal flora; Liquid-phase biosensor; Methanol; Oxygen electrode.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Bacteria
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Fluorometry
  • Methanol*


  • Acetaldehyde
  • Methanol