Determination of capsaicin using carbon nanotube based electrochemical biosensors
Mpanza, Thabani Eugene
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This study involves the development of a sensitive electrochemical biosensor for the determination of capsaicin extracted from chilli pepper fruit, based on a novel signal amplification strategy. The study therefore, seeks to provide a sensitive electro-analytical technique to be used for the determination of capsaicin in food and spicy products. Electrochemical measurements using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) modes were utilized in order to understand the redox mechanism of capsaicin and to test the performance of the developed biosensor supported with computational techniques. In this work two different enzymes, Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and Glucose oxidase (GOx) were used for electrode modifications respectively. For this purpose three different types of working electrodes namely: glassy carbon electrode (GCE), platinum electrode (Pt-E) and gold electrode (Au-E) were used and their performances were compared. For the first time, the three electrodes were modified with PAL and GOx enzymes on multiwalled carbon nanotubes used in this study and characterized by attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy, transmittance electron microscopy and thermo-gravimetric analysis supported by computational methods. The comparison of the results obtained from the bare and modified platinum electrodes revealed the sensitivity of the developed biosensor with modified electrode having high sensitivity of 0.1863 µg.L-1 and electron transfer rate constant (ks) of 3.02 s-1. To understand the redox mechanism completely, adsorption and ligand-enzyme docking simulations were carried out. Docking studies revealed that capsaicin formed hydrogen bonds with Glutamates (GLU355, GLU541, GLU586), Arginine (ARG) and other amino acids of the hydrophobic channel of the binding sites which facilitated the redox reaction for detection of capsaicin. These results confirm that the PAL enzyme facilitated the electron transfer from the capsaicin ligand, hence improving the biosensing response. Our results suggest potential applications of this methodology for the determination of capsaicin in the food industry.