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Rivista di Biologia Molecolare e Biotecnologie

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Minerva Biotecnologica 2007 September;19(3):105-16

lingua: Inglese

Biosensor technologies for microbial and environmental analysis

Rasooly A. 1,2, Sergeev N. 2, Herold K. E. 3

1 National Institute of Health National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA
2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health Silver Spring, MD, USA
3 Department of Bioengineering University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA


Microbial and environmental analysis, including the identification and characterization of contaminants, microbial pathogens and their toxins, is critical in many environmental and health-related settings. Biosensors are currently being developed for a wide range of environmental and microbial diagnostic applications. The term “biosensor” is defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as a “device that uses specific biochemical reactions mediated by isolated enzymes, immunosystems, tissues, organelles or whole cells to detect chemical compounds usually by electrical, thermal or optical signals”. In general, biosensors consist of two main components: a biological recognition element and a signal conversion unit (transducer). Numerous types of biosensors have been developed and the design variations are growing at a rapid rate. Biosensors enable fast detection, portability and versatility for both field and laboratory applications. Biosensors provide several advantages over standard methods of environmental and microbial diagnostics with the primary benefits being assay speed, miniaturization, sensitivity, and low sample volume needed for analysis. The paper describes various biosensors and biosensor applications for microbial and environmental analysis and the expected future trends in the technology.

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