Label-free detection of allergens in food via surfactant-induced signal amplification using a field effect transistor-based biosensor

Sho Hideshima*, Mai Saito, Keisuke Fujita, Yoshitaka Harada, Mika Tsuna, Satoshi Sekiguchi, Shigeki Kuroiwa, Takuya Nakanishi, Tetsuya Osaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, food safety concerning food allergy has received increasing attention globally. A simple and sensitive detection method should be developed to measure trace amounts of allergens in foods. Here, we propose a label-free field effect transistor (FET)-based biosensing system for the detection of a buckwheat allergenic protein, BWp16, by surfactant-induced signal amplification. BWp16 could be detected by coupling with an anionic surfactant, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), as this coupling enhanced the net charge of the protein, enough to be detected by FET biosensors. A significant response was observed when the allergen was coupled with SDS, while the responses were decreased or unchanged when it was coupled with a cationic or non-ionic surfactant, suggesting that the SDS coupling maintains the antibody recognition ability of the target allergen, and it would be useful to enhance the sensor responses. The fluorescence spectroscopic measurement revealed that the SDS molecules were successfully coupled with target allergenic protein BWp16, resulting in an increase in its net charge. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the FET biosensor enables specific detection of the allergen in food at the desired concentration levels for food safety analysis, suggesting that it could be used as an alternative food allergen analyzer, both industrially and domestically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1016
Number of pages6
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Field effect transistor-based biosensor
  • Food allergen detection
  • Food inspection
  • Intrinsic charge
  • Ionic surfactant
  • Signal amplification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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