A novel nanozyme assay utilising the catalytic activity of silver nanoparticles and SERRS†
Artificial enzymes have become an increasingly interesting area of research due to their many advantages over natural protein enzymes which are expensive, difficult to isolate and unable to stand harsh environments. An important area of this research involves using metal nanoparticles as artificial enzymes, known as nanozymes, which exhibit peroxidase-like activity enabling them to catalyse the oxidation of substrates such as 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) in the presence of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), giving a colorimetric response. Here we exploit the catalytic activity of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) in a surface based silver-linked immunosorbent assay (SLISA) to detect human C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker. Ag NPs were conjugated to antibodies with specific recognition for the corresponding target antigenic molecule, CRP, and the Ag NPs were used to catalyse the oxidation of TMB by H2O2. The resulting coloured oxidation product was detected using SERRS. We demonstrate that Ag NPs can replace the enzymes used in a conventional ELISA and a detection limit of 1.09 ng mL−1 of CRP can be achieved. It indicates the promise for SLISAs for biomarker detection and opens the way for further assays of this nature to be created. This novel assay has the potential to be optimised to detect lower levels of CRP and can be further extended for the sensitive and specific detection of other relevant biomarkers.