Dynamics of an electrochemical biosensor for the detection of toxic substances in water

Laurent Simon, Juan Ospina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A proposed analytical method focuses on electrolyte transport to the electrode of an electrochemical cell. The recombinant Escherichia coli whole-cell biosensor detects toxicity in water based on a set of biochemical reactors. Previous contributions elucidated the kinetics of product formation and validated a mathematical model for its diffusion in the chamber. This work introduces an approach to investigate the dynamics of the probe using Laplace transforms and an effective time constant. The transfer function between the electrolyte production and the total current revealed a faster response for larger electrode radii. Both the first-order and effective time constants increased with the chamber height and radius. Separation of variables yields closed-form solutions and helps estimate the kinetics of p-aminophenol generation. When the bacteria were exposed to phenol concentrations of 1.6, 8.3 and 16 ppm, the corresponding overall rate constants were 5.11x10-7, 1.13x10-6 and 1.99x10-6 (product concentration unit/s2), respectively. In addition to parameter estimation, the method can be applied to perform sensitivity analysis and aid manufacturers in meeting design specifications of biosensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIII
EditorsDouglas Kiehl, Brian M. Cullum, Eric S. McLamore
ISBN (Electronic)9781510601048
StatePublished - 2016
EventSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIII - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 19 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Effective time constant
  • Escherichia coli whole-cell biosensor
  • Transfer function


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