Last updated: August 21, 2019
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Biosensors  Biosensors are also known as biological sensors which are devicesthat monitor certain information and transmits signals about processes andmetabolic reactions.

The biosensor mainly consists of a biological componentwhich in some maybe an enzyme or a microorganism that relates to the process.The enzyme or microorganism depending on the process has the capability ofreacting with a target substance. There is also an electrochemical part that isattached to the biological component in which it recognises the products of thereaction and produces a signal (1- Anon, 2018). A biosensor is a device knownto convert a biological response into an electrical signal. It is mainly usedto determine the concentration of certain substances (2- Anon, 2018).  Biosensor is a device which is mostly made up of atransducer which at the end will produce electrical signals and also abiological element, this can be an enzyme, an antibody or a type of nucleicacid. The biological component of the biosensor interacts with the substancethat is going to be analysed and later the response is then converted toelectrical signal by the transducer. The components of the biosensors are madeup of two parts as said before one is a bioelements in which it can be made ofseveral types such as; polysaccharides, microbes, nucleic acids, differenttypes of tissues, enzymes and finally antibodies.

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The other part is called thesensor element, the properties of this is mainly being viscous, optimumtemperature, mass, electrical current. Biosensors have been used in manyindustries and have been successful at it. For example, some of the companiesinclude; environmental industries, biomedical and also food industries which isimportant as biosensors can detect if there is contamination, moreover it canalso remove the chemicals that are contaminating the food. Importantly,biosensors not only work for living experiments but also for non- livingexperiments, this is the main reason as to why biosensors are so successful inmany industries. Biosensors are used widely to detect biological analytes as ithas been a great success in food bioanalysis; as mentioned above detectingwhether the food has been contaminated or not and if it has the biosensor willhelp remove it. It is also used mainly in medical laboratories, the reason forthis is because scientists will be able to find out more about specific metabolicpathways or reactions and more about how chemicals may affect the reactionsthat take place. Example of biosensors being used to medical laboratories isthe 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 ofglucose and low concentrations of glucose may affect the body and also how itcould be treated.

This can happen when the biological part of biosensorattaches itself to the receptor of the cell that takes in glucose. Therefore,for patients who are suffering from diabetes, scientists can tell due to peoplewith diabetes the cell will refuse to take in glucose therefore there will be ahigh concentration of glucose in the blood in which the biosensor can sense (3-Anon, 2018).  There are many advantages of biosensors because of howsuccessful it is in many industries. Firstly, it’s a rapid and continuous measurementwhich means it can be done easily without no intervals between which also meansit does not have to be prolonged for months, it can usually be done within acouple of days. The specificity of using biosensors are rather high in which itmeans that most of the time the results that are achieved by the biosensor areusually accurate. This also means that the process of measuring it again andagain for it to be a fair test does not have to take place many times.

Biosensorsalso use a very little number of reagents which are needed for the calibrationof chemicals, the main reason for this is because most of the time it directlyattaches with it’s target receptor, therefore many other reagents are notusually needed. Furthermore, the response time for the biosensors are fast,this is an advantage because this means the results will be obtained muchquicker and if any sort of problem has been detected it can be fixed as soon aspossible rather it being prolonged. In addition to biosensors another advantageis that they have the ability to measure non- polar molecules as well as measuringpolar molecules, this is one of the main advantages, the reason for this isbecause not many devices has the ability to measure non- polar molecules asthey do not have a charge therefore it will be difficult for the devices to connectwith their target devices as there will be no opposite charges for them toattract to each other (4- Anon, 2018).  Biosensors, as mentioned above also has a huge impact on theenvironment and the pollutants which are affecting the environment on a day today basis. The benefits of using biosensors to monitor the pollutants in theenvironment is less expensive than any other way to monitor it. As well asbeing inexpensive they also give real- time monitoring results which makes iteasier for scientists and researchers to analyse and come to a conclusion aboutthe pollutants and the environment. Due to the fact that there are manydifferent types of pollutants, which have a diversity in the biological system,because of this many different types of biosensors have been developed in order to overcome this problem and is still being developed. Moreover, the reasonfor why different biosensors should be developed is because many differentpollutants exist and some of them include; toxic compounds, due to the fact thebiosensor has to monitor toxic compounds the sensor will contain substancesthat won’t be affected by the toxic compounds hence why different biosensorsare developed.

Other pollutants include heavy metals, pesticides etc.Pesticides Is one of the most important pollutants as they contribute more tothe environment than any other pollutants. When the biosensor gives a real-time result it is known as direct monitoring, however there is also indirectmonitoring, this is usually a more long-term process. This includes; geneticengineering, nanotechnology. Overall Biosensors have a huge impact on how theenvironment is being affected and the kind of pollutants affecting it and thishelps researchers to come up with ideas to reduce the amount of pollutantsbeing released into the environment (5- Anon, 2018).  As much as many advantages biosensors have in many differentindustries there are also some disadvantages. However, the disadvantage dependson the type of bioelement that is being used, this is because differentbioelements 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 willcost more to firstly extract the enzyme from a source and then isolating sothat it does not denature, in addition it will also have to be purified to makesure 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 activitythere quickens the reaction. A second bioelement is tissue material, thesesensors have a longer lifetime, which is good because the enzymes in the tissuematerial will be more stable in an optimum environment therefore it is lesslikely to denature. Tissue materials are also cheaper than purified enzymes asit doesn’t have to undergo many processes. However, the downside is that thetissues unlike purified enzymes will contain many enzymes so therefore will notbe as selective this leads to the fact that the biosensor reaction time will bemuch slower because of too many enzymes and also because the substance willhave to diffuse through more tissue. Microbes is another bioelement that can beused, these are cheaper than using enzymes due to enzymes have to be put throughprocesses to make sure they are pure. One of the main advantage is thatmicrobes are less sensitive to solutes and high tolerance of temperature and pH, this in turn increases their lifespan. However, there are many disadvantagesthese includes; having longer response times due to the fact that the substratewill have to diffuse through the cell- surface membrane and into the cytoplasm andsometimes it might have to be transported via carrier proteins or channelproteins.

Using microbes also means the recovery times will be prolonged. Thisprocess will be less selective due to it contains too many enzymes and tissuewithin the microbe itself. Antibody and antigens can be used as bioelements inbiosensors. The main advantages of these are that they are very selective duesto their variable region and the receptors found on the antigen. They are alsovery sensitive which means they can bind very strongly to its receptor. However,the disadvantages include the fact that there is no catalytic effect, also thebinding reactions are very strong which in return means strong condition willbe needed to reverse the reactions back, however the problem is that thebiosensor can only be used once, hence why it will be difficult if theexperiment goes wrong.

The final bioelement that will be discussed is nucleicacids, these are basic units that make up DNA which consists of nitrogenousbase, pentose sugar and a phosphate group. This is similar to using antibodiesor antigens. The advantages are that they are very selective and also verysensitive which means they can bind very strongly to their target receptor. Thedisadvantages include the fact that there is no catalytic effect and that thebinding reaction is strong that extra condition is needed to reverse thereaction. Overall it can be said that there is a mixture of advantages anddisadvantages for the biosensors being used widely in industries.

 Applications which involve biosensors include Clinical andDiagnostic Application, Applications in industries and finally Environmentalapplications. In clinical applications; one example is that glucose is mainlymonitored, which is used to check the sugar levels of diabetic patients. Thebiosensor device detects the concentration of blood glucose in the bloodsamples, therefore making it easier to test and monitor. This also means thatdirect results will be given and takes less time to achieve. Applications inindustry is very successful but mostly in the food industry, as mentionedbefore it detects and measures carbohydrate levels, alcohol and acids.

The biosensorsare usually used during processes that are done under controlled conditionsexample, fermentation of bear, yoghurt etc. Also in the food industry, it canbe used to detect harmful microorganisms found in fresh meat, poultry or fish. Thefinal application n is the use of biosensors in the environment, these can beused to detect the pollutants in the environment and making sure the air andwater are not too polluted. This device can check for toxicity levels ofwastewater and pesticides in the water etc.

(6- Anon, 2018). To conclude Biosensors are a huge success in many industriesthat are mentioned above and many more are still being discovered.        Reference:1)    Anon, (2018) – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biosensor2)   Anon,(2018) –  http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/enztech/biosensors.html3)   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=853574)   Anon,(2018) –  https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=4025)   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