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Cysteine residues reduce the severity of dopamine electrochemical fouling

Journal article
Authors Wolfgang Harreither
Raphaël Trouillon
Philippe Poulin
Wilfrid Neri
Andrew G Ewing
Gulnara Safina
Published in Electrochimica Acta
Volume 210
Pages 622-629
ISSN 0013-4686
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 622-629
Language en
Keywords carbon fiber; carbon nanotube fiber; dopamine; electrochemical fouling; microelectrode
Subject categories Electrochemistry


The fouling of neurotransmitter during electrochemical detection can dramatically jeopardize the viability of the sensor. Several recent developments in electrode fabrication and design have helped mitigating this issue. For instance, carbon nanotube fiber (CNTF) electrodes were found to be more resistant to fouling than the traditional carbon fiber (CF) electrodes. Here, we investigate the fouling resistance of these two materials in the presence of albumin. Interestingly, our data shows that the presence of albumin reduces the impact of dopamine (DA) fouling in a dose-dependent manner. A protective effect from DA fouling was also observed for other thiol containing substances, thus hinting that the sulfur competes with the amine moiety for the nucleophilic binding to the oxidized catechol, a critical step initiating DA fouling, and therefore reduces the rate of DA polymerization on the electrode surface. Overall, this study furthers our understanding of the mechanisms controlling DA detection in situ, and suggests using solutions of albumin as a background for calibrating sensors.

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