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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Jul 23;6(14):11657-64. doi: 10.1021/am5024463. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

Amperometric detection of lactose using β-galactosidase immobilized in layer-by-layer films.

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Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCar, Campus Sorocaba , Rodavia João Leme dos Santos, km 110 - SP-264, São Carlos SP, 18052-780 Brazil.


A direct, low-cost method to determine the concentration of lactose is an important goal with possible impact in various types of industry. In this study, a biosensor is reported that exploits the specific interaction between lactose and the enzyme β-galactosidase (β-Gal) normally employed to process lactose into glucose and galactose for lactose-intolerant people. The biosensor was made with β-Gal immobilized in layer-by-layer (LbL) films with the polyelectrolyte poly(ethylene imine) (PEI) and poly(vinyl sufonate) (PVS) on an indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode modified with a layer of Prussian Blue (PB). With an ITO/PB/(PEI/PVS)1(PEI/β-Gal)30 architecture, lactose could be determined with an amperometric method with sensitivity of 0.31 μA mmol(-1) cm(-2) and detection limit of 1.13 mmol L(-1), which is sufficient for detecting lactose in milk and for clinical exams. Detection occurred via a cascade reaction involving glucose oxidase titrated as electrolytic solution in the electrochemical cell, while PB allowed for operation at 0.0 V versus saturated calomel electrode, thus avoiding effects from interfering species. Sum-frequency generation spectroscopy data for the interface between the LbL film and a buffer containing lactose indicated that β-Gal lost order, which is the first demonstration of structural effects induced by the molecular recognition interaction with lactose.

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