A novel label-free cocaine assay based on aptamer-wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes


1 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Biotechnology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Chemistry, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

5 Nanotechnology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


This paper describes a selective and sensitive biosensor based on the dissolution and aggregation of aptamer wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes. We report on the direct detection of aptamer–cocaine interactions, namely between a DNA aptamer and cocaine molecules based on near-infrared absorption at λ807.
Materials and Methods:
First a DNA aptamer recognizing cocaine was non-covalently immobilized on the surface of single walled carbon nanotubes and consequently dissolution of SWNTs was occurred. Vis-NIR absorption (A807nm) of dispersed, soluble aptamer-SWNTs hybrid, before and after incubation with cocaine was measured using a CECIL9000 spectrophotometer.
This carbon nanotube setup enabled the reliable monitoring of the interaction of cocaine with its cognate aptamer by aggregation of SWNTs in the presence of cocaine.
This assay system provides a mean for the label-free, concentration-dependent, and selective detection of cocaine with an observed detection limit of 49.5 nM.


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