Bio(inspired) strategies for the electro-sensing of β-lactam antibiotics

Date: 20 January 2020

Venue: Campus Middelheim, A.143 - Middelheimlaan 1 - 2020 Antwerpen (route: UAntwerpen, Campus Middelheim)

Time: 7:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Department of Chemistry

PhD candidate: Fabio Bottari

Principal investigator: Karolien De Wael & Ronny Blust

Short description: PhD defence Fabio Bottari - Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry


In the broad context of food and environmental safety, the development of selective and sensitive analytical tools for the detection of β-lactam antibiotics in milk down to their Maximum Residues Limits (MRL), is still an open challenge. To address this need, the design of new bio(mimetic) electrochemical sensors was investigated in the present thesis. These sensors are based on the intrinsic electrochemistry of β-lactam antibiotics, taking advantages of the characteristic electrochemical fingerprints of the core structures and redox active side chain groups. Once verified the applicability of a direct electrochemical detection, different sensor configurations were tested mainly focusing on:

- the selection and validation of aptamers to be used as bioreceptors in the development of β-lactam biosensors;
- the design of biomimetic receptors, particularly molecularly imprinted polymers, and other synthetic electrode modifiers compatible with a direct detection strategy.

Lastly, the research activity was directed towards milk sample analysis following two parallel routes: the development of a pre-treatment protocol for raw milk, based on solvent addition and the study of β-lactam antibiotics electrochemistry in undiluted raw milk.