Real-time monitoring of calcium carbonate and cationic peptide deposition on carboxylate-SAM using a microfluidic SAW biosensor

A microfluidic biosensor with surface acoustic wave technology was used in this study to monitor the interaction of calcium carbonate with standard carboxylate self-assembled monolayer sensor chips. Different fluids, with and without biomolecular components, were investigated. The pH-dependent surface interactions of two bio-inspired cationic peptides, AS8 and ES9, which are similar to an extracellular domain of the chitin synthase involved in mollusc shell formation, were also investigated in a biological buffer system. A range of experimental conditions are described that are suitable to study non-covalent molecular interactions in the presence of ionic substances, such as, mineral precursors below the solubility equilibrium. The peptide ES9, equal to the mollusc chitin synthase epitope, is less sensitive to changes in pH than its counterpart AS8 with a penta-lysine core, which lacks the flanking acidic residues. This study demonstrates the extraordinary potential of microfluidic surface acoustic wave biosensors to significantly expand our experimental capabilities for studying the principles underlying biomineralization in vitro.