Protein Nanowire Sensor May Have Potential Applications in Biomedicine and Healthcare
May 25, 2020 | Biotechnology
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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst report that they have developed a novel bioelectronic ammonia gas sensor. The sensor uses electric-charge-conducting protein nanowires derived from the bacterium Geobacter to provide biomaterials for electrical devices. The microbes grow hair-like protein filaments that work as nanoscale “wires” to transfer charges for their nourishment and to communicate with other bacteria.
The team published its study “Bioelectronic protein nanowire sensors for ammonia detection” in NanoResearch.
“Electronic sensors based on biomaterials can lead to novel green technologies that are low cost, renewable, and eco-friendly. Here we demonstrate bioelectronic ammonia sensors made from protein nanowires harvested from the microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens. The nanowire sensor responds to a broad range of ammonia concentrations (10 to 106 ppb), which covers the range relevant for industrial, environmental, and biomedical applications,” write the investigators.
“The sensor also demonstrates high selectivity to ammonia compared to moisture and other common gases found in human breath. These results provide a proof-of-concept demonstration for developing protein nanowire based gas sensors for applications in industry, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and healthcare.”
First author and biomedical engineering doctoral student Alexander Smith, with his advisor Jun Yao, PhD, and Derek Lovley, PhD, say they designed this first sensor to measure ammonia because that gas is important to biomedicine, agriculture, and the environment. For example, in humans, ammonia on the breath may signal disease, while in poultry farming, the gas must be closely monitored and controlled for bird health and comfort and to avoid feed imbalances and production losses.
“This sensor allows you to do high-pr... Find the entire article at the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.
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