Correlation of Analyte Structures with Biosensor Responses Using the Detection of Phenolic Estrogens as a Model

Silvana Andreescu, Omowunmi A. Sadik

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93 Scopus citations


The apparent increase in hormone-induced cancers and disorders of the reproductive tract in wildlife and humans has led to a search for an accurate and reliable method for monitoring endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). This study presents a generic approach that may allow researchers to establish screening procedures for potential EDCs by correlating the analyte structures with biosensor responses and explain possible reaction mechanisms. A simple amperometric tyrosinase-based biosensor (Tyr-CPE) has been developed for the detection of phenolic EDCs. The investigation of the enzymatic oxidation of selected phenolic estrogens was first carried out using UV-vis spectroscopy. The result was used to correlate sensor responses to enzymatic activity. Natural phytoestrogen polyphenols, including resveratrol (RES), genistein (GEN), and quercetin (QRC), were compared with synthetic estrogens, for example, bisphenol A (BPhA), nonylphenol (NPh), and diethylstilbestrol (DES). The Tyr-CPE biosensor resulted in rapid, simple, and accurate measurement of phenolic estrogens with varying degrees of sensitivity, selectivity, and response times. The sensor responses have been evaluated for the detection of binary and tertiary mixtures of EDCs and natural estrogens. The results showed that BPhA could be successfully discriminated in a composite mixture containing NPh and DES at various ratios. In the case of natural phenolic estrogens GEN, RES, and QRC, the sensor allows the determination of a total phenolic content. The sensor was also validated for the detection of BPhA in a real environmental water sample, and the results was compared with standard ASTM method 9065. Mechanistically, our results indicated that the number of OH groups, the nature and the position of aryl ring substituents, or both could affect the detection limit and the biosensor sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-560
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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