A review on impedimetric immunosensors for pathogen and biomarker detection

J. Leva-Bueno, Sally A. Peyman, P. A. Millner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Since the discovery of antibiotics in the first quarter of the twentieth century, their use has been the principal approach to treat bacterial infection. Modernized medicine such as cancer therapy, organ transplantation or advanced major surgeries require effective antibiotics to manage bacterial infections. However, the irresponsible use of antibiotics along with the lack of development has led to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance which is considered a serious global threat due to the rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria (Wang et al. in Antibiotic resistance: a rundown of a global crisis, pp. 1645–1658, 2018). Currently employed diagnostics techniques are microscopy, colony counting, ELISA, PCR, RT-PCR, surface-enhanced Raman scattering and others. These techniques provide satisfactory selectivity and sensitivity (Joung et al. in Sens Actuators B Chem 161:824–831, 2012). Nevertheless, they demand specialized personnel and expensive and sophisticated machinery which can be labour-intensive and time-consuming, (Malvano et al. in Sensors (Switzerland) 18:1–11, 2018; Mantzila et al. in Anal Chem 80:1169–1175, 2008). To get around these problems, new technologies such as biosensing and lab-on-a-chip devices have emerged in the last two decades. Impedimetric immunosensors function by applying electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to a biosensor platform using antibodies or other affinity proteins such as Affimers (Tiede et al. in Elife 6(c):1–35, 2017) or other binding proteins (Weiss et al. in Electrochim Acta 50:4248–4256, 2005) as bioreceptors, which provide excellent sensitivity and selectivity. Pre-enrichment steps are not required and this allows miniaturization and low-cost. In this review different types of impedimetric immunosensors are reported according to the type of electrode and their base layer materials, either self-assembled monolayers or polymeric layers, composition and functionalization for different types of bacteria, viruses, fungi and disease biomarkers. Additionally, novel protein scaffolds, both antibody derived and non-antibody derived, used to specifically target the analyte are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-362
Number of pages20
JournalMedical Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Bacteria
  • Biomarker
  • Biosensor
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)
  • Immunosensor
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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