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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 6 (2007) pp 411-413

Construction of a Simple Myoglobin-Based Optical Biosensor

Todd A. Wells

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Denver, Denver, CO, 80208,
Received November 13, 2006. Accepted March 30, 2007.

Published online: 7 October 2007

Abstract. Optical biosensors exploit the theoretical and instrumental approaches of spectroscopy and the unique properties of biological molecules. We present here the design and construction of a simple inexpensive optical biosensor. The sensor is based on an LED colorimeter and polymer entrapped myoglobin. Myoglobin’s absorbance maximum is sensitive to ligand binding. Moreover, the overlap of its absorbance spectrum with the emission of a green LED increases with cyanide binding. The sensors response was linear at least in the range of 50 to 200 mM cyanide. The experiment is appropriate for introductory chemistry, environmental chemistry, instrumental analysis, and biochemistry students. It was initially developed for a summer program with advanced high school students.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; instrumental analysis; biochemistry

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Article in PDF format (144 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Detailed student handouts for the construction of the optical biosensor are available in a Zip file (114 KB).

Issue date: December 1, 2007

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