Microchimica Acta

, 186:136 | Cite as

An electrochemical sarcosine sensor based on biomimetic recognition

  • Tailin Liu
  • Bo Fu
  • Jincheng Chen
  • Kang LiEmail author
Original Paper


A nonenzymatic electrochemical sensor is described for the prostate cancer biomarker sarcosine (Sar). Riboflavin was employed to mimic the active center of the enzyme sarcosine oxidase for constructing the biomimetic sensor. The use of riboflavon (Rf) avoids the disadvantages of an enzymatic sensor, such as high cost and poor stability. A glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was modified with a graphene-chitosan (GR) composite and further modified with gold-platinum bimetallic nanoparticles in a polypyrrole (PPy) matrix in order to enhance the catalytic activity of the enzyme mimic. Finally, Rf was electrodeposited on the surface of the AuPt-PPy/GR-modified GCE. Under optimized conditions, the GCE provided high sensitivity and selectivity for Sar at around 0.61 V. Response covers the 2.5–600 μM concentration range, and the detection limit is 0.68 μM. The method was successfully applied to the determination of Sar in spiked urine with 98.0%–103.2% recovery.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the fabrication of the Rf/AuPt-PPy/GR/GCE surface and the measurement principle by differential pulse voltammetry (DPV).


Non-enzymatic sensor Riboflavin Graphene Bimetallic nanocomposite Prostate cancer 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81573678) and Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (Grant No. 2015A030313584).

Compliance with ethical standards

 We declare that we have no competing interests. And informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

604_2019_3240_MOESM1_ESM.doc (7.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 7571 kb)


  1. 1.
    Reis STD, Jose PJ, Antunes AA, Sousa-Canavez JM, Abe DK, Cruz JAS, Dall’ogllio MF, Crippa A, Passerotti CC, Ribeiro-Filho LA, Viana NI, Srouqi M, Leite KRM (2011) Tgf-β1 expression as a biomarker of poor prognosis in prostate cancer. Clinics 66:1143–1147PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bostrom PJ, Soloway MS (2007) Secondary cancer after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: should we be more aware of the risk? Eur Urol 52:973–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Oesterling JE (1991) Prostate specific antigen: a critical assessment of the most useful tumor marker for adenocarcinoma of the prostate. J Urol 145:907–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leman ES, Getzenberg RH (2009) Biomarkers for prostate cancer. J Cell Biochem 108:3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Draisma G, Boer R, Otto SJ, van der Cruijsen IW, Damhuis RAM, Schröder FH, de Koning HJ (2003) Lead times and overdetection due to prostate-specific antigen screening: estimates from the European randomized study of screening for prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 95:868–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Etzioni R, Falcon S, Gann PH, Kooperberg CL, Penson DF, Stampfer MJ (2004) Prostate-specific antigen and free prostate-specific antigen in the early detection of prostate cancer: do combination tests improve detection? Cancer Epidemiol Biomark Prev 13:1640–1645Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sreekumar A, Poisson LM, Rajendiran TM, Khan AP, Cao Q, Yu J, Laxman B, Mehra R, Lonigro RJ, Li Y, Nyati MK, Ahsan A, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Han B, Cao X, Byun J, Omenn GS, Ghosh D, Pennathur S, Alexander DC, Berger A, Shuster JR, Wei JT, Varambally S, Beecher C, Chinnaiyan AM (2009) Metabolomic profiles delineate potential role for sarcosine in prostate cancer progression. Nature 457:910–914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Xue Z, Yin B, Wang H, Li M, Rao H, Liu X, Zhou X, Lu X (2016) An organic indicator functionalized graphene oxide nanocomposite-based colorimetric assay for the detection of sarcosine. Nanoscale 8:5488–5496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lan J, Xu W, Wan Q, Zhang X, Lin J, Chen J, Chen J (2014) Colorimetric determination of sarcosine in urine samples of prostatic carcinoma by mimic enzyme palladium nanoparticles. Anal Chim Acta 825:63–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hamid HM, Mohammad H (2015) Nonderivatized sarcosine analysis by gas chromatography after solid-phase microextraction by newly synthesized monolithic molecularly imprinted polymer. Chromatographia 78:1263–1270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen J, Zhang J, Zhang W, Chen Z (2014) Sensitive determination of the potential biomarker sarcosine for prostate cancer by LC-MS with N,N′- dicyclohexylcarbodiimide derivatization. J Sep Sci 37:14–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Meyer TE, Fox SD, Issaq HJ, Xu X, Chu LW, Veenstra TD, Hsing AW (2011) A reproducible and high-throughput HPLC/MS method to separate sarcosine from α- and β-alanine and to quantify sarcosine in human serum and urine. Anal Chem 83:5735–5740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cernei N, Zitka O, Ryvolova M, Adam V, Masarik M, Hubalek J, Kizek R (2012) Spectrometric and electrochemical analysis of sarcosine as a potential prostate carcinoma marker. Int J Electrochem Sci 7:4286–4301Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yang P, Wang J, Yang C, Zhao X, Xie S, Ge Z (2018) Nano Pt@ZIF8 modified electrode and its application to detect sarcosine. J Electrochem Soc 165:H247–H250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zhou Y, Yin H, Meng X, Xu Z, Fu Y, Ai S (2012) Direct electrochemistry of sarcosine oxidase on graphene, chitosan and silver nanoparticles modified glassy carbon electrode and its biosensing for hydrogen peroxide. Electrochim Acta 71:294–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rebelo TS, Pereira CM, Sales MG, Noronha JP, Costa-Rodrigues J, Silva F, Fernandes MH (2014) Sarcosine oxidase composite screen-printed electrode for sarcosine determination in biological samples. Anal Chim Acta 850:26–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Xue Z, Wang H, Rao H, He N, Wang X, Liu X, Lu X (2017) Amperometric indicator displacement assay for biomarker monitoring: indirectly sensing strategy for electrochemically inactive sarcosine. Talanta 167:666–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nguy TP, Phi TV, Tram DTN, Eersels K, Wagner P, Lien TTN (2017) Development of an impedimetric sensor for the label-free detection of the amino acid sarcosine with molecularly imprinted polymer receptors. Sensors Actuators B Chem 246:461–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Scognamiglio V, Antonacci A, Lambreva MD, Litescu SC, Rea G (2015) Synthetic biology and biomimetic chemistry as converging technologies fostering a new generation of smart biosensors. Biosens Bioelectron 74:1076–1086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kuah E, Toh S, Yee J, Ma Q, Gao Z (2016) Enzyme mimics: advances and applications. Chemistry 22:8404–8430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hassan-Abdallah A, Zhao G, Jorns MS (2008) Covalent flavinylation of monomeric sarcosine oxidase: identification of a residue essential for holoenzyme biosynthesis. Biochemistry 47:1136–1143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Trickey P, Wagner MA, Jorns MS, Mathews FS (1999) Monomeric sarcosine oxidase: structure of a covalently flavinylated amine oxidizing enzyme. Structure 7:331–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zhao G, Jorns MS (2005) Ionization of Zwitterionic amine substrates bound to monomeric sarcosine oxidase. Biochemistry 44:16866–16874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cao X, Wang N, Jia S, Guo L, Li K (2013) Bimetallic AuPt nanochains: synthesis and their application in electrochemical immunosensor for the detection of carcinoembryonic antigen. Biosens Bioelectron 39:226–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ahuja T, Mir IA, Kumar D (2007) Biomolecular immobilization on conducting polymers for biosensing applications. Biomaterials 28:791–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Lee JW, Serna F, Schmidt CE (2006) Carboxy-endcapped conductive polypyrrole: biomimetic conducting polymer for cell scaffolds and electrodes. Langmuir 22:9816–9819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lin M, Hu X, Ma Z, Chen L (2012) Functionalized polypyrrole nanotube arrays as electrochemical biosensor for the determination of copper ions. Anal Chim Acta 746:63–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hu W, Li CM, Dong H (2008) Poly(pyrrole-co-pyrrole propylic acid) film and its application in label-free surface plasmon resonance immunosensors. Anal Chim Acta 630:67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Yeo BS, Bell AT (2011) Enhanced activity of gold-supported cobalt oxide for the electrochemical evolution of oxygen. J Am Chem Soc 133:5587–5593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wang W, Gao Y, Jia X, Xi K (2013) A novel Au-Pt@PPy(polypyrrole) coral-like structure: facile synthesis, high SERS effect, and good electro catalytic activity. J Colloid Interface Sci 396:23–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Daniel MC, Astruc D (2004) Gold nanoparticles: assembly, supramolecular chemistry, quantum-size-related properties, and applications toward biology, catalysis, and nanotechnology. Chem Rev 104:293–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PharmacyGuangdong Pharmaceutical UniversityGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations