Thermal Pyocyanin Sensor Based on Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for the Indirect Detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous multi-drug-resistant bacterium, capable of causing serious illnesses and infections. This research focuses on the development of a thermal sensor for the indirect detection of P. aeruginosa infection using molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs). This was achieved by developing MIPs for the detection of pyocyanin, the main toxin secreted by P. aeruginosa. To this end, phenazine was used as a dummy template, evaluating several polymeric compositions to achieve a selective MIP for pyocyanin recognition. The sensitivity of the synthesized MIPs was investigated by UV-vis analysis, with the best composition having a maximum rebinding capacity of 30 mu mol g-1 and an imprinting factor (IF) of 1.59. Subsequently, the MIP particles were immobilized onto planar aluminum chips using an adhesive layer, to perform thermal resistance measurements at clinically relevant concentrations of pyocyanin (1.4-9.8 mu M), achieving a limit of detection (LoD) of 0.347 +/- 0.027 mu M. The selectivity of the sensor was also scrutinized by subjecting the receptor to potential interferents. Furthermore, the rebinding was demonstrated in King's A medium, highlighting the potential of the sensor for the indirect detection of P. aeruginosa in complex fluids. The research culminates in the demonstration of the MIP-based sensor's applicability for clinical diagnosis. To achieve this goal, an experiment was performed in which the sensor was exposed to pyocyanin-spiked saliva samples, achieving a limit of detection of 0.569 +/- 0.063 mu M and demonstrating that this technology is suitable to detect the presence of the toxin even at the very first stage of its production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353–362
Number of pages10
JournalACS sensors
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023


  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa detection
  • molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP)
  • infection control
  • pyocyanin
  • heat-transfer method (HTM)
  • MIP-based sensor
  • bacterial analysis

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