The development of an amperometric biosensor for herbicide detection, using bacterial reaction centers (RC) as biorecognition element, is presented. RC immobilization on gold screen printed electrodes was achieved by LIFT, a powerful physisorption-based immobilization technique that enhances the intimate contact between the protein and the electrode surface. As a result, stable photocurrents driven by direct electron transfer at the donor side were observed, both in the presence and in the absence of a quinone substrate in solution. The addition of quinone UQ(0) increased the photocurrents, while the UQ(0)-free system showed higher sensitivity to the herbicide terbutryn, a model inhibitor, acting as photocurrent attenuator. In spite of its simple design, the performances achieved by our mediatorless device are comparable or superior to those reported for analogous RC-based photoelectrochemical cells, in terms of both terbutryn sensing and photocurrent generation.
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