Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (v.393, #4)

Optical sensing in medicine by Francesco Baldini (1089-1090).
is a senior researcher at the Institute of Applied Physics of National Council of Research in Florence. His current research activity is devoted to optical sensors for chemical and biochemical parameters. He is the author of more than 70 publications on this subject in international journals, scientific books and international conference proceedings as an invited speaker. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Europt(r)ode Conference on Optical Chemical Sensors and Biosensors and he is also Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Advanced Study Course on Optical Sensors (ASCOS) series.

Delivering quantum dots into cells: strategies, progress and remaining issues by James B. Delehanty; Hedi Mattoussi; Igor L. Medintz (1091-1105).
The use of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) in biological sensing and labeling continues to grow with each year. Current and projected applications include use as fluorescent labels for cellular labeling, intracellular sensors, deep-tissue and tumor imaging agents, sensitizers for photodynamic therapy, and more recently interest has been sparked in using them as vectors for studying nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery. Many of these applications will ultimately require the QDs to undergo targeted intracellular delivery, not only to specific cells, but also to a variety of subcellular compartments and organelles. It is apparent that this issue will be critical in determining the efficacy of using QDs, and indeed a variety of other nanoparticles, for these types of applications. In this review, we provide an overview of the current methods for delivering QDs into cells. Methods that are covered include facilitated techniques such as those that utilize specific peptide sequences or polymer delivery reagents and active methods such as electroporation and microinjection. We critically examine the benefits and liabilities of each strategy and illustrate them with selected examples from the literature. Several important related issues such as QD size and surface coating, methods for QD biofunctionalization, cellular physiology and toxicity are also discussed. Finally, we conclude by providing a perspective of how this field can be expected to develop in the future.
Keywords: Semiconductor quantum dot; Peptide; Nanoparticle; Endocytosis; Electroporation; Biosensor; Cellular labeling; Microinjection; Transfection; Polymer; Fluorescence

Green fluorescent protein based pH indicators for in vivo use: a review by Ranieri Bizzarri; Michela Serresi; Stefano Luin; Fabio Beltram (1107-1122).
Green fluorescent protein (GFP) and its variants have been used as fluorescent reporters in a variety of applications for monitoring dynamic processes in cells and organisms, including gene expression, protein localization, and intracellular dynamics. GFP fluorescence is stable, species-independent, and can be monitored noninvasively in living cells by fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, or macroscopic imaging techniques. Owing to the presence of a phenol group on the chromophore, most GFP variants display pH-sensitive absorption and fluorescence bands. Such behavior has been exploited to genetically engineer encodable pH indicators for studies of pH regulation within specific intracellular compartments that cannot be probed using conventional pH-sensitive dyes. These pH indicators contributed to shedding light on a number of cell functions for which intracellular pH is an important modulator. In this review we discuss the photophysical properties that make GFPs so special as pH indicators for in vivo use and we describe the probes that are utilized most by the scientific community.
Keywords: Biosensors; Fluorescence/luminescence; Optical sensors; pH measurements; Spectroscopy/theory

Real-time measurement of endosomal acidification by a novel genetically encoded biosensor by Michela Serresi; Ranieri Bizzarri; Francesco Cardarelli; Fabio Beltram (1123-1133).
Genetically encoded fluorescent proteins are optimal reporters when used to monitor cellular processes as they can be targeted to any subcellular region by fusion to a protein of interest. Here, we present the pH-sensitive fluorescent protein E1GFP which is ideally suited to monitor pH changes in dynamic intracellular structures in real time with high spatio temporal resolution. E1GFP is a ratiometric pH indicator by emission with a pK close to 6.0. We describe an application of this novel pH reporter in the measurement of pH changes along the endo-lysosomal pathway. By fusing E1GFP to the HIV-Tat protein which is endowed with cell-penetrating properties, we were able to monitor multi-step endocytosis from the initial cell-surface binding through to the intracellular endocytic network in real time. This represents a framework for the application of E1GFP to the in situ detection of pH changes involved in dynamic biological phenomena. Figure The green fluorecent protein variant, E1GFP, is a ratiometric pH-indicator by emission with a pK close to 6.0 and is therefore particularly suitable for pH detection below neutrality. Upon excitation of the neutral state of the chromophore (~400-410 nm), E1GFP emission properties are strongly dependent on the environmental pH. We describe an application of this novel pH-reporter in the measurement of pH changes along the endo-lysosomal pathway. By fusing E1GFP to the HIV-Tat protein, which is endowed with cell-penetrating properties, we were able to monitor in real-time multi-step endocytosis from the initial cell-surface binding through to the intracellular endocytic network.
Keywords: Biosensor; Endocytosis; GFP; In vivo imaging; pH measurement; Tat-HIV protein

SERS-based plasmonic nanobiosensing in single living cells by Jonathan P. Scaffidi; Molly K. Gregas; Victoria Seewaldt; Tuan Vo-Dinh (1135-1141).
In this paper, we describe the development and application of a pH-sensitive plasmonics-active fiber-optic nanoprobe suitable for intracellular bioanalysis in single living human cells using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection. The effectiveness and usefulness of SERS-based fiber-optic nanoprobes are illustrated by measurements of intracellular pH in HMEC-15/hTERT immortalized “normal” human mammary epithelial cells and PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. The results indicate that fiber-optic nanoprobe insertion and interrogation provide a sensitive and selective means to monitor cellular microenvironments at the single cell level.
Keywords: Fiber-optic nanoprobe; Intracellular pH measurement

Experimental and theoretical studies of the optimisation of fluorescence from near-infrared dye-doped silica nanoparticles by Robert I. Nooney; Ciara M. N. McCahey; Ondrej Stranik; Xavier Le Guevel; Colette McDonagh; Brian D. MacCraith (1143-1149).
There is substantial interest in the development of near-infrared dye-doped nanoparticles (NPs) for a range of applications including immunocytochemistry, immunosorbent assays, flow cytometry, and DNA/protein microarray analysis. The main motivation for this work is the significant increase in NP fluorescence that may be obtained compared with a single dye label, for example Cy5. Dye-doped NPs were synthesised and a reduction in fluorescence as a function of dye concentration was correlated with the occurrence of homo-Förster resonance energy transfer (HFRET) in the NP. Using standard analytical expressions describing HFRET, we modelled the fluorescence of NPs as a function of dye loading. The results confirmed the occurrence of HFRET which arises from the small Stokes shift of near-infrared dyes and provided a simple method for predicting the optimum dye loading in NPs for maximum fluorescence. We used the inverse micelle method to prepare monodispersed silica NPs. The NPs were characterised using dynamic light scattering, UV spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The quantum efficiency of the dye inside the NPs, as a function of dye loading, was also determined. The fluorescent NPs were measured to be approximately 165 times brighter than the free dye, at an optimal loading of 2% (w/w). These experimental results were in good agreement with model predictions. Figure The change in nanoparticle fluorescence versus increased dye loading modelled using homo-Förster resonance energy transfer.
Keywords: Fluorescence; Nanoparticles; Energy transfer; Biosensing

Prostate-specific antigen immunoassays on the BioCD by Xuefeng Wang; Ming Zhao; David D. Nolte (1151-1156).
The BioCD is a spinning-disc interferometric biosensor on which antibodies are immobilized to capture target antigens from biological samples. In this work, BioCDs measured the interferometric response to prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The ideal detection limit for PSA was determined using a BioCD with 12,500 printed target antibody spots with a corresponding number of reference protein spots. Statistical analysis projects the detection limit of PSA as a function of the number of spots included in the average. When approximately 10,000 spot pairs were averaged, the 3σ detection limit was 60 pg/ml in a 2 mg/ml simple protein background. A standard format for BioCD immunoassays uses 96 wells with 32 target spots paired with reference spots. In serum, the detection limit for this format was 1 ng/ml in 3:1 diluted female human serum using a sandwich assay with a nonfluorescent mass tag.
Keywords: Optical biosensor; BioCD; Label-free; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; Antibody microarray

Label-free detection of cancer biomarker candidates using surface plasmon resonance imaging by Jon Ladd; Allen D. Taylor; Marek Piliarik; Jiri Homola; Shaoyi Jiang (1157-1163).
In this work, we present an antibody array for the detection of cancer biomarker candidates by a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) imaging sensor with polarization contrast. Responses from the SPR imaging sensor are shown to be similar to those from a conventional spectroscopy-based SPR sensor. Antibodies are spotted onto a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) composed of oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG)-containing alkanethiol chains. Detection of two cancer biomarker candidates, activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule/CD 166 (ALCAM) and transgelin-2 (TAGLN2), is demonstrated. Limits of detection for ALCAM and TAGLN2 are established at 6 ng/mL and 3 ng/mL, respectively, in buffer. No cross-reactivity is observed between immobilized antibodies and nonspecific antigen. Biomarker candidates are also detected in a 10% human serum solution.
Keywords: Surface plasmon resonance imaging; Protein array; Cancer biomarkers

Surface plasmon resonance study on HIV-1 integrase strand transfer activity by Hana Vaisocherová; Jan Snášel; Tomáš Špringer; Hana Šípová; Ivan Rosenberg; Josef Štěpánek; Jiří Homola (1165-1172).
Understanding the molecular mechanism of HIV-1 integrase (IN) activity is critical to find functional inhibitors for an effective AIDS therapy. A robust, fast, and sensitive method for studying IN activity is required. In this work, an assay for real-time label-free monitoring of the IN activity based on surface plasmon resonance was developed. This assay enabled direct monitoring of the integration of a viral doubled-stranded (ds) DNA into the host genome. The strand transfer reaction was detected by using two different DNA targets: supercoiled plasmid (pUC 19) and short palindrome oligonucleotide. The effect of the length of the DNA target on the possibility to monitor the actual process of the strand transfer reaction is discussed. The surface density of integrated ds-DNA was determined. IN binding to the oligonucleotide complexes and model DNA triplexes in the presence of various divalent ions as metal cofactors was investigated as well. The assay developed can serve as an important analytical tool to search for potential strand transfer reaction inhibitors as well as for the study of compounds interfering with the binding of ds long terminal repeats–IN complexes with the host DNA. HIV-1 integrase strand transfer activity was monitored in real time using a multichannel surface plasmon resonance biosensor.
Keywords: Surface plasmon resonance; Biosensor; HIV-1 integrase; Strand transfer reaction

A screening analysis of DNA hybridization and the presence of DNA mutations using an surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor is shown. The influence of lateral and vertical spacers, as well as several hybridization conditions, was studied to optimize the differentiation between fully complementary and mismatched DNA strands. Our results demonstrated that SPR biosensors were able to detect mismatch sequences related to inherited breast cancer, with high specificity and sensitivity. Using PCR synthetic sequences as targets, mutant sequences were clearly discriminated from fully complementary ones, and detection limits below 50 nM were achieved.
Keywords: SPR biosensor; DNA hybridization; DNA mutation; BRCA-1; Breast cancer

A new procalcitonin optical immunosensor for POCT applications by F. Baldini; L. Bolzoni; A. Giannetti; M. Kess; P. M. Krämer; E. Kremmer; G. Porro; F. Senesi; C. Trono (1183-1190).
A new immunosensor for the determination of procalcitonin was developed. A sandwich assay format was implemented on a polymethylmetacrylate optical biochip, opportunely shaped in order to obtain several flow channels and potentially suitable for point of care testing applications. The sandwich format makes use of two new rat monoclonal antibodies. The capture antibody was covalently immobilised on the surface of the plastic chip, and the detection antibody was labelled with DY647 dye. Different combinations of capture and detection antibodies were investigated, and particular attention was devoted in order to avoid the non-specific adsorption. A limit of detection of 0.088 mg L−1 was achieved within the working range of 0.28–50 mg L−1 in buffer samples. The assay was also implemented in human serum, and 0.2 and 0.7–25 mg L−1 were the attained limit of detection and working range, respectively.
Keywords: Optical biochip; Immunosensor; Procalcitonin; PMMA; Fluorescence anisotropy; POCT

Disposable screen-printed chemiluminescent biochips for the simultaneous determination of four point-of-care relevant proteins by C. A. Marquette; F. Bouteille; B. P. Corgier; A. Degiuli; L. J. Blum (1191-1198).
A screen-printed (SP) microarray is presented as a platform for the achievement of multiparametric biochips. The SP platform is composed of eight (0.28-mm2) working electrodes modified with electroaddressed protein A-aryl diazonium adducts. The electrode surfaces are then used as an affinity immobilisation support for the orientated binding of capture monoclonal antibodies, having specificity against four different point-of-care related proteins (myoglobin, cardiac troponin I, C-reactive protein and brain natriuretic peptide). The immobilised capture antibodies are involved in sandwich assays of the four proteins together with biotinylated detection antibodies and peroxidase-labelled streptavidin in order to permit a chemiluminescent imaging of the SP platform and a sensitive detection of the assayed proteins. The performances of the system in pure buffered solutions, using a 25-min assay duration, were characterised by dynamic ranges of 0.5–50, 0.1–120, 0.2–20 and 0.67–67 μg/L for C-reactive protein, myoglobin, cardiac troponin I and brain natriuretic peptide, respectively. The four different assays were also validated in spiked 40-times-diluted human sera, using LowCross buffer, and were shown to work simultaneously in this complex medium. Figure Principle of the screen-printed POC microarray and a schematic representation of the assay architecture.
Keywords: Brain natriuretic peptide; C-reactive protein; Myoglobin; Point-of-care; Screen-printed; Troponin

Chemical sensing, imaging and microscopy based on the use of fluorescent probes has so far been limited almost exclusively to the detection of a single parameter at a time. We present a scheme that can overcome this limitation by enabling optical sensing of two parameter simultaneously and even at identical excitation and emission wavelengths of two probes provided (a) their decay times are different enough to enable two time windows to be recorded, and (b) the emission of the shorter-lived probe decays to below the detectable limit while that of the other still can be measured. We refer to this new scheme as the dual lifetime determination (DLD) method and show that it can be widely varied by appropriate choice of probes and experimental settings. DLD is demonstrated to work by sensing oxygen and temperature independently from each other by making use of two probes, one for oxygen (a platinum porphyrin dissolved in polystyrene), and one for temperature [a europium complex dissolved in poly(vinyl methylketone)]. DLD was applied to monitor the consumption of oxygen in the glucose oxidase-catalyzed oxidation of glucose at varying temperatures. The scheme is expected to have further applications in cellular assays and biophysical imaging. Figure Principle behind the dual lifetime determination (DLD) method
Keywords: Dual sensing; Luminescence lifetime; Oxygen sensing; Temperature sensing; Fluorescence imaging

Optical sensing in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip by femtosecond-laser-written waveguides by Rebeca Martinez Vazquez; Roberto Osellame; Marina Cretich; Marcella Chiari; Chaitanya Dongre; Hugo J. W. M. Hoekstra; Markus Pollnau; Hans van den Vlekkert; Roberta Ramponi; Giulio Cerullo (1209-1216).
We use direct femtosecond laser writing to integrate optical waveguides into a commercial fused silica capillary electrophoresis chip. High-quality waveguides crossing the microfluidic channels are fabricated and used to optically address, with high spatial selectivity, their content. Fluorescence from the optically excited volume is efficiently collected at a 90° angle by a high numerical aperture fiber, resulting in a highly compact and portable device. To test the platform we performed electrophoresis and detection of a 23-mer oligonucleotide plug. Our approach is quite powerful because it allows the integration of photonic functionalities, by simple post-processing, into commercial LOCs fabricated with standard techniques. Figure Femtosecond laser written waveguides can selectively excite fluorescence in a microfluidic channel of a commercial lab-on-a-chip. A compact scheme for on-chip detection by laser induced fluorescence is applied to capillary electrophoresis of a 23-mer Cy3-labeled oligonucleotide
Keywords: Lab-on-a-chip; Microfluidics; Optical waveguides; Capillary electrophoresis; Laser-induced fluorescence

Size selective sampling using mobile, 3D nanoporous membranes by Christina L. Randall; Aubri Gillespie; Siddarth Singh; Timothy G. Leong; David H. Gracias (1217-1224).
We describe the fabrication of 3D membranes with precisely patterned surface nanoporosity and their utilization in size selective sampling. The membranes were self-assembled as porous cubes from lithographically fabricated 2D templates (Leong et al., Langmuir 23:8747–8751, 2007) with face dimensions of 200 μm, volumes of 8 nL, and monodisperse pores ranging in size from approximately 10 μm to 100 nm. As opposed to conventional sampling and filtration schemes where fluid is moved across a static membrane, we demonstrate sampling by instead moving the 3D nanoporous membrane through the fluid. This new scheme allows for straightforward sampling in small volumes, with little to no loss. Membranes with five porous faces and one open face were moved through fluids to sample and retain nanoscale beads and cells based on pore size. Additionally, cells retained within the membranes were subsequently cultured and multiplied using standard cell culture protocols upon retrieval.
Keywords: Microfluidics/Microfabrication; Nanoparticles/Nanotechnology; Separations/Instrumentation; Bioanalytical methods

Towards biosensors based on conducting polymer nanowires by Sagar B. Tolani; Michael Craig; Robert K. DeLong; Kartik Ghosh; Adam K. Wanekaya (1225-1231).
We report the electrochemical deposition of poly(pyrrolepropylic acid) nanowires, their covalent modification with antibodies and their conversion into potential functional sensor devices. The nanowires and the devices were characterised by optical microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy and electrical measurements. Fluorescence images, current–voltage (IV) profiles and real-time sensing measurements demonstrated a rapid and highly sensitive and selective detection of human serum albumin (HSA), a substance that has been used to diagnose incipient renal disease. The detection is based on the selective binding of HSA onto anti-HSA that is covalently attached to the nanowires. The binding changes the electrical properties of the nanowires thus enabling the real-time detection. Whilst the utility of the research was demonstrated for protein binding/detection, the technology could easily be designed for the detection of other analytes by the modification of polymer nanowires with other analyte-specific molecules/biomolecules. Therefore, the technology has the potential to positively impact broad analytical applications in the biomedical, environmental and other sectors. Figure Real-time dynamic current response on sequential exposure of buffer, bovine serum albumin (BSA) and human serum albumin (HSA) onto anti-HSA modified poly (pyrrolepropylic acid) nanowires. Fluorescence images of poly(pyrrolepropylic acid) nanowire (top right) and polypyrrole nanowire control (bottom right) after sequential treatment with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC), anti HSA and fluorophore-labeled HSA.
Keywords: Biosensor; Conducting polymer; Human serum albumin; Nanowire; Nanotechnology; Nanosensor

Simple modeling of the physical sample dispersion process in rectangular meso (micro) channels with pressure-driven flows by Mireia Baeza; José Luis Montesinos; Julián Alonso; Jordi Bartrolí (1233-1243).
The present paper reports the modeling and characterization of the physical sample dispersion process observed in rectangular microchannels when pressure-driven pumping is used. To explain experimental results provided by the silicon fluidic device constructed, two different mathematical models were tested. The first one is based on the diffusion–convection model, and the second one is based on the combination of ideal reactors. The silicon designed and constructed chip includes a microfluidic manifold with four inlet–outlet ports and a monolithically integrated optical flow cell. The microchannels, the optical flow cell, and the input–output ports were micromachined on a silicon wafer and then sealed with Pyrex glass anodically bonded. Optical windows were integrated in the chip, allowing simple absorbance–transmission measurements. Pressure-driven flows through fluidic channels were controlled via three-way solenoid valves and provided by an automatic microburette operating in aspiration mode. Experimentally obtained results demonstrate that the physical sample dispersion process can be easily modeled as a combination of a continuous stirred tank reactor and a plug-flow reactor.
Keywords: Hybrid system; μFIA; Modeling; Mixing; Diffusion–convection; CSTR; PFR

A 2D reversed-phase × ion-pair reversed-phase HPLC-MALDI TOF/TOF-MS approach for shotgun proteome analysis by Maria Lasaosa; Nathanaël Delmotte; Christian G. Huber; Katja Melchior; Elmar Heinzle; Andreas Tholey (1245-1256).
The separation of complex peptide mixtures in shotgun proteome analysis using a 2D separation scheme encompassing reversed-phase × ion-pair reversed-phase (IP-RP) liquid chromatography coupled online to electrospray ion trap mass spectrometry (MS) has been shown earlier to be superior in terms of separation efficiency and technical robustness compared to the classically used separation scheme encompassing strong cation exchange × IP-RP-chromatography in shotgun proteome analysis. In the present study, this novel separation scheme was coupled offline to matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF)/TOF-MS for the analysis of the same sample, a tryptic digest of the cytosolic proteome of the bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum. Compared to the earlier study, the MALDI-based platform led to a significantly increased number of peptides (7,416 vs. 2,709) and proteins (1,208 vs. 468, without single peptide-based identifications), respectively. This represents the majority of all predicted cytosolic proteins in C. glutamicum. The high proteome coverage, as well as the large number of low-abundant proteins identified with this improved analytical platform, pave the way for new biological studies.
Keywords: Corynebacterium glutamicum ; Electrospray MS; Ion-pair reversed-phase chromatography; LC-MALDI; Orthogonality; Protein identification

A recently reported chiral strong cation exchanger (cSCX) type stationary phase was investigated for the LC separation of a series of Cinchona alkaloids and synthetic derivatives thereof to test its usefulness as alternative methodology for the separation of those important pharmaceuticals. The cSCX column-packing material was qualitatively compared on the one hand against a commercially available non-enantioselective SCX-material, PolySulfoethyl-A, and, on the other hand, against a modern C18 reversed-phase stationary phase which is commonly employed for Cinchona alkaloid analysis. Both SCX columns showed no pronounced peak-tailing phenomena which typically hamper Cinchona alkaloid RP analysis and require specific optimization. Thus, the cSCX-based assay provided new feasibilities for the separation of the Cinchona alkaloids in polar organic mode as opposed to conventional reversed-phase methodologies. In particular, a method for the simultaneous determination of eight Cinchona alkaloids (quinine, quinidine, cinchonine, cinchonidine, and their corresponding dihydro analogs) using the cSCX column in HPLC has been developed and exemplarily applied to impurity profiling of a commercial alkaloid sample. Furthermore, both SCX materials allowed successful separation of C9-epi and 10,11-didehydro derivatives from their respective educts in an application in synthetic Cinchona alkaloid chemistry. Figure An alternative separation principle - HPLC separation of strongly basic natural Cinchona alkaloids and synthetic derivatives thereof by means of a strong cation-exchanger type chiral stationary phase
Keywords: Column liquid chromatography; Cinchona alkaloid; Reversed-phase; Cation exchanger; Packing materials; Quinine; Quinidine; Cinchonine; Cinchonidine; Epiquinine; Epiquinidine

Poly(ethylene oxide)-bonded stationary phase for capillary ion chromatography by Toyohide Takeuchi; Budhi Oktavia; Lee Wah Lim (1267-1272).
Methyl-capped poly(ethylene oxide) moieties were chemically bonded to silica gel using an amine-reactive modification reagent and evaluated as the stationary phase for ion chromatography. In this work, primary amino groups of an aminopropylsilica packing material were reacted with methyl-PEO12-NHS ester (succinimidyl-{[N-methyl]-dodecaethyleneglycol} ester) in phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) at room temperature. The prepared poly(ethylene oxide)-bonded stationary was evaluated for the separation of inorganic anions, and the retention behavior of inorganic anions on the prepared stationary phase was examined. The elution order of the investigated anions was the same as that observed in common ion chromatography. Both cations and anions of the eluent affected the retention of the analyte anions. Ion exchange was involved for the retention of analyte anions, although the present stationary phase does not possess any discrete ion-exchange sites. The stationary phase was applied to the separation of trace anions contained in tap water and a rock salt.
Keywords: Ion chromatography; Poly(ethylene oxide)-bonded phase; Retention behavior; Inorganic anions

Estrone is one of the important potential endocrine-disrupting compounds, and the sensitive and reliable analytical methods for the determination of estrone are required for the assurance of human health. In this paper, using estrone as template molecule, 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane as function monomer, and tetraethoxysilicane as cross-linker, a highly selective molecularly imprinted microsphere was synthesized by surface molecular imprinting technique combined with a sol–gel process. The imprinted material was characterized by the Fourier transform infrared and static adsorption experiments, and the results showed that it exhibited good recognition and selective ability for estrone. A novel method for separation and determination of trace estrone in environmental sample was developed using on-line molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction coupled to high-performance liquid chromatography. With a sample loading flow rate of 2.6 mL min−1 for a 9.6-min extraction, the enrichment factor obtained by the slopes of the linear portion in comparison with the direct injection of 10 μL standard sample solution was 1,045. The detection limit (S/N = 3) was 5.7 ng L−1, and the relative standard deviations for nine replicate extractions of 5.0 μg L−1 estrone was less than 10.0%. This method was evaluated for quantitative determination of estrone in well and lake water samples spiked at two levels (0.5 and 1.0 μg L−1) with recoveries ranging from 86% to 95%.
Keywords: Estrone; Molecular imprinting; Sol–gel; On-line solid-phase extraction; High-performance liquid chromatography

Development of a creatinine enzyme-based bar-code-style lateral-flow assay by Ka-Kei Fung; Cangel Pui-Yee Chan; Reinhard Renneberg (1281-1287).
A lateral-flow, enzyme-based, bar-code assay for creatinine employing the concept of combination of diffusion and kinetics controlled has been developed. Unlike the traditional bar-code version of immunochromatographic assay, which depends on the stepwise capture of colorimetric tracer-labeled antibody–antigen complex by the immobilized antibody on each successive line, the principle of our proposed assay is based on the delay in TMB release and its diffusion in combination with horseradish peroxidase kinetics. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced from enzymatic reactions acts as a limiting factor, which controls the rate of conversion of TMB to blue color complex. The assay takes advantage of giving ladder bar result therefore without the need of any reading device. Depending on the amount of enzymes used, the assay can be one (9 min) or two steps (19 min). The strip assay semiquantitatively measures creatinine concentrations ranging from 0 to 400 μM. Thirty urine samples and thirty serum samples were tested, and the assay showed 90.0% and 86.7% agreement compared with conventional Jaffé method, respectively. This assay provides a tool for quick identification of creatinine for patients without the requirement of any instrument.
Keywords: Creatinine; Bar-code; Enzyme; Lateral flow; Hydrogen peroxide

Improving real-time measurement of H/D exchange using a FTIR biospectroscopic probe by Pedro Carmona; Arantxa Rodríguez-Casado; Marina Molina (1289-1295).
We describe the improvement of a novel approach to investigating hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange kinetics in biomolecules using transmission infrared spectroscopy. The method makes use of a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer coupled with a microdialysis flow cell to determine exchange rates of labile hydrogens. With this cell system, the monitoring of exchange reactions has been studied here as a function of some cell characteristics such as: (a) dialysis membrane surface contacting both the H2O and D2O compartments; (b) molecular cutoff of dialysis membrane; and (c) distance between the cell-filling holes. The best improvement has been obtained by increasing the dialysis membrane surface followed by increase of molecular cutoff. However, not significant differences were found using various distances between filling holes. The fastest exchange rate which can be measured with the cell system used here is found to be k = 0.41 ± 0.02 min−1, that is, about threefold greater than the one got in a previous work. This microdialysis flow cell has been used here for the study of H/D exchange in nucleic acids with subsequent structural analysis by 2D correlation spectroscopy.
Keywords: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; H/D isocopic exchange; Nucleic acids; Proteins

Artemisinin is an endoperoxide sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the Chinese medicinal plant Artemisia annua L. It has been widely used in South-East Asia and Africa as an effective drug against sensitive and multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. A monoclonal antibody (mAb), designated as 3H2, was generated with artesunate–bovine serum albumin conjugate as the immunogen. mAb 3H2 was used to develop a highly sensitive and specific indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (icELISA) for artemisinin. The concentration of analyte producing 50% of inhibition (IC50) and the working range of the icELISA were 1.3 and 0.2–5.8 ng/mL, respectively. The mAb 3H2 recognized the artemisinin analogs artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, and artemether with cross-reactivity of 650%, 57%, and 3%, respectively, but negligibly recognized deoxyartemisinin and the artemisinin precursors arteannuin B and artemisinic acid. The average recoveries of artemisinin fortified in A. annua samples at concentrations from 156 to 5,000 μg/g determined by icELISA ranged from 91% to 98%. The icELISA was applied for the determination of artemisinin in different wild A. annua samples and the results were confirmed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. The correlation coefficient (R 2) between the two assays was larger than 0.99, demonstrating a good agreement between the icELISA and HPLC results. This ELISA is suitable for quality assurance of A. annua L. materials. Figure Artemisia annua plant and antimalarial drugs derived from artemisinin
Keywords: Malaria; Artemisinin; Artemisia annua ; Herb medicine; ELISA; Antibody

“Reverse” colorimetric DNA detection by the formation of core-shell particles upon DNA hybridization is described. Specifically, the assay is based on a strategy to covalently link polymer reaction initiators to suspended nanoparticles upon DNA hybridization. These initiators then prompt polymer chain growth to form a thick polymer shell outside of particles, acting as the physical barrier to keep Au particles apart. Particles without DNA hybridization aggregate, accompanied by a pronounced solution color change from red to blue. The focus of this report is to address reaction kinetics of two co-occurring processes: polymer growth and particle aggregation during the reverse colorimetric DNA assay. The results show that Cu ions used as the polymerization catalyst bind strongly to the bases in DNA molecules, resulting in crosslinking of DNA-attached gold nanoparticles and their subsequent precipitation. Both Cu-ion-assisted particle aggregation and polymer growth are found to depend strongly on Cu ion concentration, salt concentration, and reaction temperature. Under the optimized conditions, faster polymer chain growth on the surface overcomes particle aggregation and preserves particle stability via steric stabilization.
Keywords: Metal divalent ions; DNA-functionalized gold nanoparticles; ATRP; Polymer-assisted reverse colorimetric method

Quantitative analysis of DHEA and androsterone in female urine: investigating the effects of menstrual cycle, oral contraception and training on exercise-induced changes in young women by M.-L. Bayle; C. Enea; P. Goetinck; F. Lafay; N. Boisseau; B. Dugué; M.-M. Flament-Waton; M.-F. Grenier-Loustalot (1315-1325).
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its metabolite androsterone (A) are natural steroids secreted in high quantities in human body. To assess the influence of oral contraceptives, menstrual cycle phase, and also physical exercise (acute and chronic such as training) on these metabolites excretions, a collection of 28 female urine specimens was organized. A three-extraction-step method was developed, and the analyses were performed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry using deuterated 19-noretiocholanolone as the internal standard. Sample hydration state was found to be of great importance for kinetic studies, as it directly influenced the concentrations. No influence of menstrual cycle and training was found for androsterone and DHEA. However, oral contraceptive intake lowered DHEA excretion in urine and A seems to be slightly affected by exercise.
Keywords: Androsterone; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Doping; Female physiology; Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; Physical exercise

Characterization of metabolites of sibutramine in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes by liquid chromatography–ion trap mass spectrometry by Kati S. Hakala; Marek Link; Barbora Szotakova; Lenka Skalova; Risto Kostiainen; Raimo A. Ketola (1327-1336).
Liquid chromatography–ion trap mass spectrometry was used for the detection and structural characterization of metabolites of the anti-obesity drug sibutramine. Metabolites were profiled from incubations of sibutramine in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. In addition, enantioselectivity of sibutramine metabolism was investigated by carrying out separate incubations with (R)- and (S)-sibutramine. As a result, biotransformation profile for sibutramine with rat hepatocytes is proposed. Nineteen metabolites and several of their isomers formed via demethylation, hydroxylation, dehydrogenation, acetylation, attachment of CO2, and glucuronidation were identified in MS2 and MS3 experiments, though the exact position of the functionality, mostly hydroxylation, could not always be determined from the mass spectrometric information. However, clear enantioselective formation was observed for two hydroxyl derivatives and two glucuronide conjugates, indicating that the hydroxyl/glucuronic acid moiety in those structures is close to the chiral center. Most of the metabolites found in this study are new metabolites of sibutramine, which were not previously reported.
Keywords: Sibutramine hydrochloride; Rat hepatocytes; Metabolism; Enantiomers; Liquid chromatography–ion trap mass spectrometry; Product ion spectra

Chemiluminescence assay for quinones based on generation of reactive oxygen species through the redox cycle of quinone by Naoya Kishikawa; Nobuhiro Ohkubo; Kaname Ohyama; Kenichiro Nakashima; Naotaka Kuroda (1337-1343).
A sensitive and selective chemiluminescence assay for the determination of quinones was developed. The method was based on generation of reactive oxygen species through the redox reaction between quinone and dithiothreitol as reductant, and then the generated reactive oxygen was detected by luminol chemiluminescence. The chemiluminescence was intense, long-lived, and proportional to quinone concentration. It is concluded that superoxide anion was involved in the proposed chemiluminescence reaction because the chemiluminescence intensity was decreased only in the presence of superoxide dismutase. Among the tested quinones, the chemiluminescence was observed from 9,10-phenanthrenequinone, 1,2-naphthoquinone, and 1,4-naphthoquinone, whereas it was not observed from 9,10-anthraquinone and 1,4-benzoquinone. The chemiluminescence property was greatly different according to the structure of quinones. The chemiluminescence was also observed for biologically important quinones such as ubiquinone. Therefore, a simple and rapid assay for ubiquinone in pharmaceutical preparation was developed based on the proposed chemiluminescence reaction. The detection limit (blank + 3SD) of ubiquinone was 0.05 μM (9 ng/assay) with an analysis time of 30 s per sample. The developed assay allowed the direct determination of ubiquinone in pharmaceutical preparation without any purification procedure. Figure Chemiluminescence generated through the redox cycle of quinone
Keywords: Luminol chemiluminescence; Quinone; Semiquinone radicals; Redox cycle; Ubiquinone

Microwave-assisted extraction: a simpler and faster method for the determination of ethyl glucuronide in hair by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry by Iván Álvarez; Ana María Bermejo; María Jesús Tabernero; Purificación Fernández; Pamela Cabarcos; Patricia López (1345-1350).
Alcohol is the most frequently abused “addictive substance” that causes serious social problems throughout the world; thus, alcoholism is of particular interest in clinical and forensic medicine. Alcohol biomarkers are physiological indicators of alcohol exposure or ingestion and may reflect the presence of an alcohol use disorder. The glucuronide conjugation is a minor pathway of ethanol metabolism. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a marker of recent alcohol consumption that detects alcohol use reliably over a definite time period. The present paper describes a new method for the determination of EtG in hair. It is based both in the microwave-assisted extraction (MAE), to extract the analyte from hair samples, and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), to identify and quantify the EtG in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. The method was applied to 15 hair samples from occasional alcohol users, obtaining positive results in all cases. It was fully validated, including a linear range (0.3–10 ng/mg) and the main precision parameters. In summary, the use of microwave-assisted extraction turned out to be a substantially simpler, faster, and a more sensitive procedure than any other conventional sample preparations.
Keywords: Ethyl glucuronide; Hair; Microwave-assisted extraction; Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry

Real-time RT-PCR discriminating mRNA encoding osteocalcin from unspecific targets by Jan-Karl Burkhardt; Dirk Halama; Bernhard Frerich; Frank Gaunitz (1351-1355).
Osteocalcin is a noncollagenous protein produced by osteoblasts and odontoblasts. It is used as a marker for bone formation in regenerative medical approaches. In addition, serum levels in humans are used to indicate bone turnover. Expression is usually determined by real-time reverse transcription PCR. Analysis of sequence data revealed that the frequently used primers for the determination of osteocalcin expression also detect the expression of messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding polyamine-modulated factor 1 (PMF1). In the present study we developed a method to determine the real amount of mRNA encoding osteocalcin. Bone-derived cells were treated with osteogenic differentiation medium and expression of osteocalcin was determined to test the method. It was found that the classic method that does not correct for PMF1 expression leads to overestimations as high as 70%.
Keywords: Real time quantitative reverse transcription PCR; Polyamine-modulated factor; Osteocalcin; Bone regeneration; Tissue engineering

High-throughput non-destructive nuclear magnetic resonance method to measure intramuscular fat content in beef by Cátia Crispilho Corrêa; Lucimara Aparecida Forato; Luiz Alberto Colnago (1357-1360).
High intake of saturated fat from meats has been associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and others diseases. In this paper, we are introducing a simple, high-throughput, and non-destructive low-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance method that has the potential to analyze the intramuscular fat content (IMF) in more than 1,000 beef portions per hour. The results can be used in nutritional fact labels, replacing the currently used average value. The method is based on longitudinal (T 1) and transverse (T 2) relaxation time information obtained by a continuous wave-free precession (CWFP) sequence. CWFP yields a higher correlation coefficient (r = 0.9) than the conventional Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill (CPMG) method (r = −0.25) for IMF in beef and is just as fast and a simpler pulse sequence than CPMG. The method can also be applied to other meat products.
Keywords: Low-resolution NMR; CPMG; CWFP; Intramuscular fat analysis

Colourimetric characterisation of disposable optical sensors from spectroradiometric measurements by A. Lapresta-Fernández; R. Huertas; M. Melgosa; L. F. Capitán-Vallvey (1361-1366).
Spectroradiometric measurements of reflectance and CIELAB hue-angle, were tested for K(I) determination using disposable optical sensors based on ion exchange mechanism. The linearisation of the sigmoidal response function, using a logistic regression, increases the linear range noticeably to 7.65 × 10−8–1.5 M and 1.22 × 10−7–1.5 M for CIELAB hue-angle and reflectance, respectively. The trueness of both procedures was demonstrated comparing it with results obtained by a DAD spectrophotometer used as a reference measurement procedure. The usefulness of the procedure was checked by analysing K(I) in different types of waters and beverages. Additionally, we studied the possible visual discrimination for the whole potassium range tested, obtaining the possibility of discriminating twelve groups of concentrations.
Keywords: Potassium determination, Disposable optical sensor, Ionophore–chromoionophore chemistry, CIELAB, CIEDE2000

A simple and quick online solid-phase extraction (SPE) coupled to liquid chromatography (LC)/tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) for the determination of the five antibiotics (florfenicol, FF; lincomycin, LCM; oxytetracyclin, OTC; tylosin, TS; valnemulin, VLM) in swine wastewater has been developed. After filtration, aliquots (100 μl) of wastewater samples were directly injected to a column-switching LC system. Some matrix interference was removed by washing up SPE column with 0.2% formic acid solution and acetonitrile. Antibiotics eluted from SPE column were separated on analytical column by converting switching valve and were detected by MS/MS. Calibration curves using the method of standard addition had very good correlation coefficients (r > 0.99) in the range of 0.1 to 2 ng/ml. The intra-day precision of the method was less than 12% and the inter-day precision was between 6 to 17%. The detection limits were 0.01–0.1 ng/ml. When this method was applied to wastewater samples in swine facilities, four compounds (LCM, OTC, TS, and VLM) were detected.
Keywords: Online solid-phase extraction; Antibiotics; Liquid chromatography; Tandem mass spectrometry; Swine wastewater