Sensors for biosensors: a novel tandem monitoring in a droplet towards efficient screening of robust design and optimal operating conditions

Understanding the biorecognition and transduction mechanisms is a key aspect in the development of robust sensing technologies. Therefore, the design of tools and analytical approaches that could allow gaining a deeper insight into the bio- and electrochemical processes would significantly accelerate the progress in the field of biosensors. Herein, we present a novel effective strategy for biosensor design screening based on tandem monitoring of individual system parameters in a droplet. The developed tandem approach couples the simultaneous chronoamperometric characterization of biosensors in the presence of an analyte (glucose) together with dissolved oxygen monitoring using a luminescence-based optical oxygen microsensor. Remarkably, an optical sensor was applied for the first time to analyse the amperometric biosensor response and kinetics. Two types of multi-layer glucose biosensors (first generation) were chosen as a case study and were evaluated at various operating conditions using multi-analytical techniques. Moreover, specific protocols were developed for the detection of oxygen conversion rates, iron and membrane elution inside the multi-layer glucose biosensor system. The presented tandem monitoring approach allows one to identify and build-up the correlations between the critical operation conditions and system parameters affecting the overall biosensor response, its sensitivity and lifetime. Thus, based on the obtained experimental results a more favorable composition of Nafion membrane films and enzyme loadings for glucose biosensors were identified in a time-efficient way and allowed to explain an improved stability (up to 3 months) and linear detection range of glucose concentrations (up to 5 mM). Furthermore, the presented tandem monitoring approach can be readily adapted to other oxygen dependent types of biosensors either for simultaneous multiple substrate detection or as an efficient tool for biosensor design and operating condition screening.