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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A fiber-optic cocaine biosensor.

A fiber-optic biosensor was developed for detection of cocaine, its metabolites, and other coca alkaloids, using a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against a derivatized benzoylecgonine (BE). The mAb was immobilized noncovalently on quartz fibers and a flow fluorometer was used to detect changes in evanescent wave fluorescence. A fluorescein (FL) conjugate of BE bound to the mAb specifically in a saturable manner and with high affinity (Kd = 7.6 nM). Cocaine or other test compounds competed with FL-BE for binding to the mAb in a concentration-dependent manner, thereby reducing the initial rate or steady-state fluorescence. Addition of cocaine to the flow buffer after reaching steady-state fluorescence enhanced the dissociation of bound FL-BE, and cocaine removal allowed fiber regeneration for multiple measurements. The detection limits for cocaine, cocaethylene, norcocaine, and BE were 5, 5, 29, and 30 ng/ml, respectively, but for ecgonine it was 4600 ng/ml and for methylecgonine it was 2000 ng/ml. Tropacocaine was detected at 10 ng/ml, but atropine was detected at 2900 ng/ml. The biosensor discriminated by 833-fold between cocaine and its stereoisomer pseudococaine. Structural features necessary for high-affinity recognition by this mAb are benzoate and 3 beta configuration, both of which are found in BE, cocaine, norcocaine, and cocaethylene.[1]


  1. A fiber-optic cocaine biosensor. Devine, P.J., Anis, N.A., Wright, J., Kim, S., Eldefrawi, A.T., Eldefrawi, M.E. Anal. Biochem. (1995) [Pubmed]
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