Binding enhancements of antibody functionalized natural and synthetic fibers

Azeem, Iqra and El yaagoubi, Marwa and Sousa, Ana M. L. and Li, Tai-De and Yameen, Basit and Lau, King Hang Aaron (2021) Binding enhancements of antibody functionalized natural and synthetic fibers. RSC Advances, 11 (48). pp. 30353-30360. ISSN 2046-2069 (

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Development of low cost biosensing using convenient and environmentally benign materials is important for wide adoption and ultimately improved healthcare and sustainable development. Immobilized antibodies are often incorporated as an essential biorecognition element in point-of-care biosensors but these proteins are costly. We present a strategy of combining convenient and low-cost surface functionalization approaches for increasing the overall binding activity of antibody functionalized natural and synthetic fibers. We demonstrate a simple one-step in situ silica NP growth protocol for increasing the surface area available for functionalization on cotton and polyester fabrics as well as on nanoporous cellulose substrates. Comparing this effect with the widely adopted and low cost plant-based polyphenol coating to enhance antibody immobilization, we find that both approaches can similarly increase overall surface activity, and we illustrate conditions under which the two approaches can produce an additive effect. Furthermore, we introduce co-immobilization of antibodies with a sacrificial “steric helper” protein for further enhancing surface activities. In combination, several hundred percent higher activities compared to physical adsorption can be achieved while maintaining a low amount of antibodies used, thus paving a practical path towards low cost biosensing.