Nitrite/nitrate detection in serum based on dual-plate generator-collector currents in a microtrench

Andrew J. Gross, Stephanie Holmes, Sarah E. C. Dale, Miranda J. Smallwood, Stephen J. Green, C. Peter Winlove, Nigel Benjamin, Paul G. Winyard, Frank Marken

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A dual-electrode sensor is developed for rapid detection of nitrite/nitrate at micromolar levels in phosphate buffer media and in dilute horse serum without additional sample pre-treatment. A generator-collector configuration is employed so that on one electrode nitrate is reduced to nitrite and on the second electrode nitrite is oxidised back to nitrate. The resulting redox cycle gives rise to a specific and enhanced current signal which is exploited for sensitive and reliable measurement of nitrite/nitrate in the presence of oxygen. The electrode design is based on a dual-plate microtrench (approximately 15 μm inter-electrode gap) fabricated from gold-coated glass and with a nano-silver catalyst for the reduction of nitrate. Fine tuning of the phosphate buffer pH is crucial for maximising collector current signals whilst minimising unwanted gold surface oxidation. A limit of detection of 24 μM nitrate and a linear concentration range of 200-1400 μM is reported for the microtrench sensor in phosphate buffer and dilute horse serum. Relative standard deviations for repeat measurements were in the range 1.8-6.9% (n=3) indicating good repeatability in both aqueous and biological media. Preliminary method validation against the standard chemiluminescence method used in medical laboratories is reported for nitrate analysis in serum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
Early online date5 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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