Reagent-Free Lactate Detection Using Prussian Blue and Electropolymerized-Molecularly Imprinted Polymers-Based Electrochemical Biosensors

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Sweat lactate, a promising biomarker for assessing physical performance and health conditions, calls for noninvasive, convenient, and affordable detection methods. This study leverages molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) as a synthetic biorecognition element for lactate detection due to their affordability and high stability. Traditional MIPs-based electrochemical sensors often require external redox probes such as ferricyanide/ferrocyanide in the solution to signal the binding between analytes and MIPs, which restricts their applicability. To address this, our study introduces an innovative approach utilizing a layer of Prussian blue (PB) nanoparticles as the internal redox probe on screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCE), followed by a layer of electropolymerized MIP (eMIP) for molecular recognition, enabling reagent-free lactate detection. The real-time growth of eMIP and the processes of template elution and lactate rebinding were examined and validated using electrochemical surface plasmon resonance (EC-SPR) spectroscopy. The sensor's performance was thoroughly investigated using Differential Pulsed Voltammetry (DPV) and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) with samples spiked in 0.1 M KCl solution and artificial sweat. The developed sensors demonstrated a fast and selective response to lactate, detecting concentrations from 1 to 35 mM with a Limit of Detection (LOD) of 0.20 mM, defined by a signal-to-noise ratio of 3 in the DPV measurements. They also exhibited excellent reproducibility, reusability, and a shelf life of up to 10 months under ambient conditions. These eMIP/PB/SPCE-based lactate sensors show considerable potential as point-of-care (POC) devices for sweat lactate detection, and the technology could be adapted for reagent-free detection of a broad spectrum of molecules.

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ACS applied materials & interfaces