Salmonella represents one of the major causes of foodborne diseases in humans, in addition to provoking important economic losses in the agri-food sector worldwide. Therefore, the surveillance and control of this human pathogenic bacterium in foodstuffs and biological fluids are necessary in order to prevent and diagnose the disease. Molecular methods based on the detection of DNA sequences specific to pathogenic species are an appealing alternative to traditional culture-based methods that require 5 to 6 days to obtain a definitive result. Among them, and because of its easy miniaturization, electrochemical genosensors are a suitable option for decentralized genetic testing [1-2]; however, they often require a set of sample pretreatment steps before genetic DNA analysis, thus making their implementation at the point of need more difficult.
Herein, we report the integration of a nucleic acid-based sensor and an isothermal DNA amplification technique, helicase-dependent amplification or HDA, onto indium tin oxide (ITO) surfaces for the detection of a DNA sequence specific for the typA gene of Salmonella. DNA amplification process occurs at 65 ºC with short oligonucleotides flanking the target sequence, which act as primers. The reversed primer is covalently bound to the ITO surface through a thiol group present at its 5’ terminus, whereas forward fluorescein-tagged primer is incorporated in solution. As a result of the isothermal elongation step, fluorescein-tagged DNA duplexes are attached to the ITO surface and their enzymatic labelling is achieved via Fab fragments directed against fluorescein, conjugated with the redox enzyme alkaline phosphatase. Then, α-naphthyl phosphate is enzymatically dephosphorylated into an electroactive derivate α-naphthol whose amount, directly related to the Salmonella present in the sample, is measured by differential pulse voltammetry. This developed integrated sensing platform allows the detection of Salmonella down to 10 genomes in just over 2 hours , the same detection limit as that achieved by real-time PCR but without need of high-end benchtop instrumentation. Furthermore, the sensing layer built onto ITO surfaces maintains its performance even after 9 months storage, and possesses a great potential to be extended to the in-situ, fast and reliable detection of other pathogens.
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Acknowledgments: This work has been supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (CTQ2015-63567-R), the Principado de Asturias government (FC-15-GRUPIN14-025), and co-financed by FEDER funds.
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