A cellulose-based bioassay for the colorimetric detection of pathogen DNA
Cellulose-paper-based colorimetric bioassays may be used at the point of sampling without sophisticated equipment. This study reports the development of a colorimetric bioassay based on cellulose that can detect pathogen DNA. The detection was based on covalently attached single-stranded DNA probes and visual analysis. A cellulose surface functionalized with tosyl groups was prepared by the N,N-dimethylacetamide-lithium chloride method. Tosylation of cellulose was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and elemental analysis. Sulfhydryl-modified oligonucleotide probes complementary to a segment of the DNA sequence IS6110 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were covalently immobilized on the tosylated cellulose. On hybridization of biotin-labelled DNA oligonucleotides with these probes, a colorimetric signal was obtained with streptavidin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase catalysing the oxidation of tetramethylbenzamidine by H2O2. The colour intensity was significantly reduced when the bioassay was subjected to DNA oligonucleotide of randomized base composition. Initial experiments have shown a sensitivity of 0.1 μM. A high probe immobilization efficiency (more than 90 %) was observed with a detection limit of 0.1 μM, corresponding to an absolute amount of 10 pmol. The detection of M. tuberculosis DNA was demonstrated using this technique coupled with PCR for biotinylation of the DNA. This work shows the potential use of tosylated cellulose as the basis for point-of-sampling bioassays.