Label-free and reagentless electrochemical genosensor based on graphene acid for meat adulteration detection

José MR Flauzino, Emily P Nguyen, Qiuyue Yang, Giulio Rosati, David Panáček, Ana G Brito-Madurro, João M Madurro, Aristides Bakandritsos, Michal Otyepka, Arben Merkoçi. Biosensors and Bioelectronics

With the increased demand for beef in emerging markets, the development of quality-control diagnostics that are fast, cheap and easy to handle is essential. Especially where beef must be free from pork residues, due to religious, cultural or allergic reasons, the availability of such diagnostic tools is crucial. In this work, we report a label-free impedimetric genosensor for the sensitive detection of pork residues in meat, by leveraging the biosensing capabilities of graphene acid – a densely and selectively functionalized graphene derivative. A single stranded DNA probe, specific for the pork mitochondrial genome, was immobilized onto carbon screen-printed electrodes modified with graphene acid. It was demonstrated that graphene acid improved the charge transport properties of the electrode, following a simple and rapid electrode modification and detection protocol. Using non-faradaic electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, which does not require any electrochemical indicators or redox pairs, the detection of pork residues in beef was achieved in less than 45 min (including sample preparation), with a limit of detection of 9% w/w pork content in beef samples. Importantly, the sample did not need to be purified or amplified, and the biosensor retained its performance properties unchanged for at least 4 weeks. This set of features places the present pork DNA sensor among the most attractive for further development and commercialization. Furthermore, it paves the way for the development of sensitive and selective point-of-need sensing devices for label-free, fast, simple and reliable monitoring of meat purity