این پایان نامه به زبان انگلیسی، دپارتمان تحلیلی و شیمی آلی دانشگاه اسپانیا UNIVERSITAT ROVIRA I VIRGILI مربوط به سال 2009 می باشد. ( با نمره عالی به چاپ رسیده است)
Microorganisms are present in a variety of sources, including food, water, animals, environment as well as the human body. They can be harmless or harmful. The latter is also called pathogenic and their detection is extremely important due to health and safety reasons. It is well known that food contaminated with bacteria can produce a number of foodborne diseases. As a consequence, thousands of euros are invested each year in medical treatments trying to keep the population healthy. There are more than 250 known foodborne diseases. For example, outbreaks of salmonellosis have increased in many countries in the last decades being Salmonella Infantis one of the most important etiological agents associated with this enteric disease. Moreover, due to the wide distribution of the microorganisms, they can also contaminate foods in the field as well as during the storage stage. In that sense, filamentous fungi are one of the etiological agents responsible for most post-harvest food spoilage producing quality losses and economic devaluation. On the other hand, the invasive fungal infections due to yeast have risen considerably in recent years. Candidiasis is the so-called disease produced by Candida albicans. This is an opportunistic infection that affects immunocompromised patients requiring costly treatment with advanced medicine. Several methods have been proposed so far to detect pathogenic microorganisms. Conventional culture is highly selective and sensitive but they also require several days to yield the results. To simplify and automate the identification of both bacteria and fungi rapid biochemical kits have been developed. Although the results obtained with these kits are comparable to the traditional biochemical tests they also need 1 or 2 days to obtain results. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) can be applied for the direct identification of pathogenic microorganisms in real samples. This immuno-based method has been widely used in both food and the medical sector with high sensitivity. Nevertheless, the main disadvantage of this method is that it can also be time-consuming because a pre-enrichment of the sample is often required in order to achieve low limits of detection. As a consequence, many researchers have addressed their efforts towards the development of alternative methods to allow the rapid detection of pathogens. Molecular biology-based methods, specifically polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time PCR are nowadays the most common tools used for pathogen detection. They are highly sensitive and allow the quantification of the target. In addition, microarray platforms of DNA have been developed in order to analyse hundreds of targets simultaneously. However, this technique is costly and reagent-consuming. The introduction of biosensors has brought new alternatives in pathogenic detection. Biosensors are the most used tools in pathogenic detection after PCR, culture methods and ELISA. They provide rapid results after the sample has been taken. However, their real application lies in achieving selectivities and sensitivities comparable to the established methods and at low cost. Since carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were discovered by Iijima, many papers have reported their unique electronic and optical properties which, together with their size, make these nanostructures interesting materials in the development of biosensing platforms. Their very high capacity for charge transfer between heterogeneous phases makes them suitable as components in electrochemical sensors. The electrical conductivity of the CNTs is highly sensitive to changes in their chemical environment and, as a result, they have been successfully applied in the study of molecular recognition processes. An approach for the direct electrical detection of biomolecules integrates CNTs as transducer elements within a field-effect transistor (FET) configuration. The main advantages of this kind of configuration lies in that the conducting channel is usually located on the surface of the substrate and as a result, they are extremely sensitive to any change in the surrounding environment. Moreover, CNTFET devices can operate at room temperature and in ambient conditions. At the beginning of this research (2006) electrochemical CNTFETs based on single walled carbon nanotubes had not been applied to detect bacteria or fungi. Only the interaction between CNTs and bacteria had been explored, but without sensing purposes. Therefore, this thesis reports the first CNTFET devices applied to the detection of pathogenic microorganisms. First, the background and the introduction containing the state of the art are presented covering relevant investigations made in the last years. Next, the main analytical methods are described. These descriptions involve detailed information of all procedures, analytical tools and materials used throughout this research work. In the following chapters, the application of the CNTFETs for the determination of bacteria, yeast and moulds is presented throughout the scientific articles published along the development of the thesis. Briefly, the first device developed was applied to the detection of Salmonella Infantis in a simple matrix (0.85 % saline solution) and it was proven for first time, that this kind of sensor was able to detect, at least, 100 cfu/mL of the bacteria in just one hour with high selectivity. Subsequently, we enlarged the application field to other types of microorganisms: Candida albicans. In this study we improved not only the detection limit of the devices to 50 cfu/mL but also we proved the selectivity of the CNTFETs against possible interference that can be present in real samples like serum proteins. Finally, the devices were applied to the detection of the mould Aspegillus flavus in real samples. In this assay the response time was 30 minutes and a high sensitivity (10 µg of A. flavus / 25 g of rice) was obtained. As the final chapters, general conclusions extracted from the overall work and annexes are reported. It can be stated that nanomaterials displaying extraordinary properties like carbon nanotubes can be combined with biological entities to obtain highly sensitive and selective biosensors able to detect bacteria, yeasts and moulds in a very short time. In future work, other performance parameters such as, long term stability, robustness and reusability must be studied further and contrasted with standard methods before thinking of the commercialization of the devices.