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Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2009;48(37):6790-810. doi: 10.1002/anie.200900231.

Virus-based chemical and biological sensing.

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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


Viruses have recently proven useful for the detection of target analytes such as explosives, proteins, bacteria, viruses, spores, and toxins with high selectivity and sensitivity. Bacteriophages (often shortened to phages), viruses that specifically infect bacteria, are currently the most studied viruses, mainly because target-specific nonlytic phages (and the peptides and proteins carried by them) can be identified by using the well-established phage display technique, and lytic phages can specifically break bacteria to release cell-specific marker molecules such as enzymes that can be assayed. In addition, phages have good chemical and thermal stability, and can be conjugated with nanomaterials and immobilized on a transducer surface in an analytical device. This Review focuses on progress made in the use of phages in chemical and biological sensors in combination with traditional analytical techniques. Recent progress in the use of virus-nanomaterial composites and other viruses in sensing applications is also highlighted.

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