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January 2008

Nanotech Sensor for Pesticides and Nerve Agents Sizzles in Scientific Literature

A new quick and simple method of determining pesticides or nerve agents is proving very popular in the scientific literature. Authored by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the article made ISI's list of hot papers in Analytical Chemistry. Papers achieve this status for their meteoric rise in the scientific literature, as the articles are cited time and time again within just 2 years of publication.

Written by PNNL's Dr. Yuehe Lin and Dr. Guodong Liu, the article "Biosensor Based on Self-Assembling Acetylcholinesterase on Carbon Nanotubes for Flow Injection/Amperometric Detection of Organophosphate Pesticides and Nerve Agents" appeared on the November 2007 hot paper list. Researchers have cited the article more than two dozen times since it was published in February 2006.

Self-Assembly of Enzymes on Carbon Nanotube
Self-Assembly of Enzymes on Carbon Nanotube

The article describes the construction of a sensor, composed of enzymes that self-assemble layer by layer onto tiny, hollow carbon tubes. When the sensor encounters organophosphates, the active agent in certain insecticides and chemical warfare agents, the enzymes slow down. The reduced activity is transmitted as an electrochemical signal through the carbon nanotubes to the attached electrode. The resulting measurements can show the concentration of organophosphates in a person's saliva, a city's water supply, or other contaminated waters.

The research was conducted in the U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a national scientific user facility, at PNNL. A Laboratory Directed Research and Development grant from PNNL funded this work.

Citation: Liu, G and Y Lin. 2006. "Biosensor Based on Self-Assembling Acetylcholinesterase on Carbon Nanotubes for Flow Injection/Amperometric Detection of Organophosphate Pesticides and Nerve Agents." Analytical Chemistry 78(3):835-843.


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