Label-free analytical performances of a peptide-based QCM biosensor for trypsin†
A label-free biosensor was fabricated for the detection of trypsin by using a peptide-functionalized quartz crystal microbalance gold electrode. The synthetized peptide chains were immobilized tightly on the QCM electrode via a self-assembly method, which formed a thin and approximate rigid layer of peptides. The detection signal was achieved by calculating the mass changes on the QCM electrode because the peptide chains could be specifically cleaved in the carboxyl terminuses of arginine and lysine by trypsin. When gold nanoparticles were coupled to the peptide chains, the sensing signal would be amplified 10.9 times. Furthermore, the sensor interface shows a lower resonance resistance change when the peptide chain is immobilized horizontally. Independent detections in parallel on different electrodes have a wide linear range. Under the optimum conditions, the signal-amplified biosensor allowed the measurement of trypsin over the range of 0–750 ng mL−1 with a detection limit of 8.6 ng mL−1. Moreover, for screening the inhibitor of trypsin, the IC50 values were obtained to be 1.85 μg mL−1 for benzamidine hydrochloride and 20.5 ng mL−1 for the inhibitor from soybean.