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Biosensors and Bioelectronics
Vol. 91, 2017, Pages: 857–862

Monitoring of microbial cell viability using nanostructured electrodes modified with Graphene/Alumina nanocomposite

Rabeay Y.A. Hassan, Moataz M. Mekawy, Pankaj Ramnani, Ashok Mulchandani

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, United States.


Microbial infections are rapidly increasing; however most of the existing microbiological and molecular detection methods are time consuming and/or cannot differentiate between the viable and dead cells which may overestimate the risk of infections. Therefore, a bioelectrochemical sensing platform with a high potential to the microbial-electrode interactions was designed based on decorated graphene oxide (GO) sheet with alumina (Al2O3) nanocrystals. GO-Al2O3 nanocomposite was synthesized using self-assembly of GO and Al2O3 and characterized using the scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman-spectroscopy, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV). Enhancement of electrocatalytic activity of the composite-modified electrode was demonstrated. Thus, using the GO-Al2O3  nanocomposite modified electrode, the cell viability was determined by monitoring the bioelectrochemical response of the living microbial cells (bacteria and yeast) upon stimulation with carbon source. The bioelectrochemical assay was optimized to obtain high sensitivity and the method was applied to monitor cell viability and screen susceptibility of metabolically active cells (E. coli, B. subtilis, Enterococcus, P. aeruginosa and Salmonella typhi) to antibiotics such as ampicillin and kanamycin. Therefore, the developed assay is suitable for cell proliferation and cytotoxicity testing.

Keywords: Nano-microbial sensors; Cell viability measurement; Electrochemical assay; Modified electrode; Aluminum oxide; Graphene oxide; Nanocomposite.

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