Enzymatic Writing to Soft Films: Potential to Filter, Store, and Analyze Biologically Relevant Chemical Information



Sensor-based chemical analyses commonly enlist either the molecular recognition capabilities of biology (e.g., enzyme biosensors) or advanced information processing algorithms (e.g., the electronic nose). Here, a hybrid approach is proposed in which an enzyme is used to “filter” chemical information and write this information to a film which then serves as a permanent storage medium that can be ‘read’ repeatedly, interactively, and by multiple sensor modalities. This approach is demonstrated by analyzing common dietary phenols that are reported to offer health benefits. Specifically, the enzyme tyrosinase is used to convert these phenols into reactive quinones that graft (i.e., write) to a chitosan film. Grafting can be detected by optical, mechanical, and electrochemical sensors. Importantly, grafting confers redox activity to the films and this redox activity can be probed interactively by advanced electrochemical methods that allow the intrinsic redox reactivities to be compared, redox interactions to be identified, and biologically relevant redox activities to be examined. The transfer of chemical and biological information to a film is envisioned to provide broader access to the extensive capabilities offered by sensor technologies and signal processing methodologies.