Biosensors

 

Biosensors are also known as biological sensors which are devices
that monitor certain information and transmits signals about processes and
metabolic reactions. The biosensor mainly consists of a biological component
which in some maybe an enzyme or a microorganism that relates to the process.
The enzyme or microorganism depending on the process has the capability of
reacting with a target substance. There is also an electrochemical part that is
attached to the biological component in which it recognises the products of the
reaction and produces a signal (1- Anon, 2018). A biosensor is a device known
to convert a biological response into an electrical signal. It is mainly used
to determine the concentration of certain substances (2- Anon, 2018).

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Biosensor is a device which is mostly made up of a
transducer which at the end will produce electrical signals and also a
biological element, this can be an enzyme, an antibody or a type of nucleic
acid. The biological component of the biosensor interacts with the substance
that is going to be analysed and later the response is then converted to
electrical signal by the transducer. The components of the biosensors are made
up of two parts as said before one is a bioelements in which it can be made of
several types such as; polysaccharides, microbes, nucleic acids, different
types of tissues, enzymes and finally antibodies. The other part is called the
sensor element, the properties of this is mainly being viscous, optimum
temperature, mass, electrical current. Biosensors have been used in many
industries and have been successful at it. For example, some of the companies
include; environmental industries, biomedical and also food industries which is
important as biosensors can detect if there is contamination, moreover it can
also remove the chemicals that are contaminating the food. Importantly,
biosensors not only work for living experiments but also for non- living
experiments, this is the main reason as to why biosensors are so successful in
many industries. Biosensors are used widely to detect biological analytes as it
has been a great success in food bioanalysis; as mentioned above detecting
whether the food has been contaminated or not and if it has the biosensor will
help remove it. It is also used mainly in medical laboratories, the reason for
this is because scientists will be able to find out more about specific metabolic
pathways or reactions and more about how chemicals may affect the reactions
that take place. Example of biosensors being used to medical laboratories is
the fact that it can be used to detect concentrations of substances such as;
the concentration of glucose in the blood, looking at how high concentration of
glucose and low concentrations of glucose may affect the body and also how it
could be treated. This can happen when the biological part of biosensor
attaches itself to the receptor of the cell that takes in glucose. Therefore,
for patients who are suffering from diabetes, scientists can tell due to people
with diabetes the cell will refuse to take in glucose therefore there will be a
high concentration of glucose in the blood in which the biosensor can sense (3-
Anon, 2018).

 

There are many advantages of biosensors because of how
successful it is in many industries. Firstly, it’s a rapid and continuous measurement
which means it can be done easily without no intervals between which also means
it does not have to be prolonged for months, it can usually be done within a
couple of days. The specificity of using biosensors are rather high in which it
means that most of the time the results that are achieved by the biosensor are
usually accurate. This also means that the process of measuring it again and
again for it to be a fair test does not have to take place many times. Biosensors
also use a very little number of reagents which are needed for the calibration
of chemicals, the main reason for this is because most of the time it directly
attaches with it’s target receptor, therefore many other reagents are not
usually needed. Furthermore, the response time for the biosensors are fast,
this is an advantage because this means the results will be obtained much
quicker and if any sort of problem has been detected it can be fixed as soon as
possible rather it being prolonged. In addition to biosensors another advantage
is that they have the ability to measure non- polar molecules as well as measuring
polar molecules, this is one of the main advantages, the reason for this is
because not many devices has the ability to measure non- polar molecules as
they do not have a charge therefore it will be difficult for the devices to connect
with their target devices as there will be no opposite charges for them to
attract to each other (4- Anon, 2018).

 

Biosensors, as mentioned above also has a huge impact on the
environment and the pollutants which are affecting the environment on a day to
day basis. The benefits of using biosensors to monitor the pollutants in the
environment is less expensive than any other way to monitor it. As well as
being inexpensive they also give real- time monitoring results which makes it
easier for scientists and researchers to analyse and come to a conclusion about
the pollutants and the environment. Due to the fact that there are many
different types of pollutants, which have a diversity in the biological system,
because of this many different types of biosensors have been developed in or
der to overcome this problem and is still being developed. Moreover, the reason
for why different biosensors should be developed is because many different
pollutants exist and some of them include; toxic compounds, due to the fact the
biosensor has to monitor toxic compounds the sensor will contain substances
that won’t be affected by the toxic compounds hence why different biosensors
are developed. Other pollutants include heavy metals, pesticides etc.
Pesticides Is one of the most important pollutants as they contribute more to
the environment than any other pollutants. When the biosensor gives a real-
time result it is known as direct monitoring, however there is also indirect
monitoring, this is usually a more long-term process. This includes; genetic
engineering, nanotechnology. Overall Biosensors have a huge impact on how the
environment is being affected and the kind of pollutants affecting it and this
helps researchers to come up with ideas to reduce the amount of pollutants
being released into the environment (5- Anon, 2018).

 

As much as many advantages biosensors have in many different
industries there are also some disadvantages. However, the disadvantage depends
on the type of bioelement that is being used, this is because different
bioelements are used for different purposes depending on what it is. Furthermore,
using enzymes as a bioelement means it is likely to be expensive due to it will
cost more to firstly extract the enzyme from a source and then isolating so
that it does not denature, in addition it will also have to be purified to make
sure it has not been contaminated with any other enzymes that are not needed. However,
the pros are that the enzymes used are very selective and have an increased activity
there quickens the reaction. A second bioelement is tissue material, these
sensors have a longer lifetime, which is good because the enzymes in the tissue
material will be more stable in an optimum environment therefore it is less
likely to denature. Tissue materials are also cheaper than purified enzymes as
it doesn’t have to undergo many processes. However, the downside is that the
tissues unlike purified enzymes will contain many enzymes so therefore will not
be as selective this leads to the fact that the biosensor reaction time will be
much slower because of too many enzymes and also because the substance will
have to diffuse through more tissue. Microbes is another bioelement that can be
used, these are cheaper than using enzymes due to enzymes have to be put through
processes to make sure they are pure. One of the main advantage is that
microbes are less sensitive to solutes and high tolerance of temperature and p
H, this in turn increases their lifespan. However, there are many disadvantages
these includes; having longer response times due to the fact that the substrate
will have to diffuse through the cell- surface membrane and into the cytoplasm and
sometimes it might have to be transported via carrier proteins or channel
proteins. Using microbes also means the recovery times will be prolonged. This
process will be less selective due to it contains too many enzymes and tissue
within the microbe itself. Antibody and antigens can be used as bioelements in
biosensors. The main advantages of these are that they are very selective dues
to their variable region and the receptors found on the antigen. They are also
very sensitive which means they can bind very strongly to its receptor. However,
the disadvantages include the fact that there is no catalytic effect, also the
binding reactions are very strong which in return means strong condition will
be needed to reverse the reactions back, however the problem is that the
biosensor can only be used once, hence why it will be difficult if the
experiment goes wrong. The final bioelement that will be discussed is nucleic
acids, these are basic units that make up DNA which consists of nitrogenous
base, pentose sugar and a phosphate group. This is similar to using antibodies
or antigens. The advantages are that they are very selective and also very
sensitive which means they can bind very strongly to their target receptor. The
disadvantages include the fact that there is no catalytic effect and that the
binding reaction is strong that extra condition is needed to reverse the
reaction. Overall it can be said that there is a mixture of advantages and
disadvantages for the biosensors being used widely in industries.

 

Applications which involve biosensors include Clinical and
Diagnostic Application, Applications in industries and finally Environmental
applications. In clinical applications; one example is that glucose is mainly
monitored, which is used to check the sugar levels of diabetic patients. The
biosensor device detects the concentration of blood glucose in the blood
samples, therefore making it easier to test and monitor. This also means that
direct results will be given and takes less time to achieve. Applications in
industry is very successful but mostly in the food industry, as mentioned
before it detects and measures carbohydrate levels, alcohol and acids. The biosensors
are usually used during processes that are done under controlled conditions
example, fermentation of bear, yoghurt etc. Also in the food industry, it can
be used to detect harmful microorganisms found in fresh meat, poultry or fish. The
final application n is the use of biosensors in the environment, these can be
used to detect the pollutants in the environment and making sure the air and
water are not too polluted. This device can check for toxicity levels of
wastewater and pesticides in the water etc. (6- Anon, 2018).

To conclude Biosensors are a huge success in many industries
that are mentioned above and many more are still being discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

1)    Anon, (2018) – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biosensor

2)   
Anon,
(2018) –  http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/enztech/biosensors.html

3)   
Anon,
(2018) – https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/biosensors-their-fundamentals-designs-types-and-most-recent-impactful-applications-a-review-2155-6210-1000235.php?aid=85357

4)   
Anon,
(2018) –  https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=402

5)   
Anon,
(2018) – https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-19018-1_4

6)   
Anon,
(2018) – https://www.news-medical.net/health/Biosensor-Applications.aspx