A dual-color plasmonic immunosensor for salivary cortisol measurement†
Lifestyle-related disorders are a public health problem worldwide and their early diagnosis represents the key to successful therapies. In this framework, rapid point-of-care (POC) tests are one of the most promising diagnostic techniques. In particular, the use of saliva is raising increasing interest as a noninvasive biological fluid in POC systems, although the low concentration of salivary biomarkers typically requires strong advances to improve the device sensitivity. In this study, the plasmonic properties of two differently shaped gold nanoparticles (i.e., nanospheres and nanostars) were combined to develop an efficient paper-based immunosensor for the naked-eye evaluation of salivary cortisol, known as one of the main stress-related biomarkers. Notably, the dual-color system facilitated an immediate and easy evaluation of cortisol levels, based on a blue-to-pink color change of the detection zone. Furthermore, the implemented strategy showed potential applicability as a rapid and portable monitoring system, allowing discriminating different target concentrations.