Synthesis and processing of ELISA polymer substitute: The influence of surface chemistry and morphology on detection sensitivity

Samira Hosseini, Fatimah Ibrahim, Ivan Djordjevic*, Hussin A. Rothan, Rohana Yusof, Cees van der Marel, Leo H. Koole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Despite the known drawbacks of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), one of the deficiencies that have relatively been ignored is the performance of ELISA substrate itself. Polystyrene (PS), as the cost effective material of choice for mass production of ELISA well-plates, has shown obvious lacks of suitable physical and chemical properties for protein attachment. The general concept of this work was to develop a potential substrate that can be suggested as a material of choice for production of a new generation of ELISA analytical kits. Spin-coated thin films of polymethyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid (PMMA-co-MAA) on silicon surfaces were designed and processed for detection of dengue virus. Coated surfaces of different molar ratios have been investigated as carboxyl-functionalized layers for obtaining platform for biomolecule immobilization with high level of protein activity. To improve the sensitivity of detection, we have used amine functional "spacers", hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) and polyethyleneimine (PEI), which were covalently bonded to the surfaces of PMMA-co-MAA coatings. Results demonstrate that the variation of surface concentration of carboxyl groups of PMMA-co-MAA can be used to control the amine surface concentration after carbodiimide coupling with HMDA and PEI spacers. The presence of amine spacers increases hydrophilicity of the coatings and significantly impacts the polymer surface morphology. In particular, protein immobilization via amine-bearing spacers has been achieved in two effective steps: (1) carbodiimide bonding between amine spacer molecules and PMMA-co-MAA polymer coatings; and (2) covalent immobilization of antibody via glutaraldehyde reaction with amine groups from amine-treated surfaces. The application of PEI spacer in comparison to HMDA has shown much higher intensity of detection signal in ELISA experiment, indicating better immobilization efficiency and preservation of antibody activity upon attachment to the polymer surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-638
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2014


  • Protein immobilization
  • Polyacrylate coatings
  • ELISA substrate
  • Dengue virus detection


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