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Title: Beta-Lactam Antibiotic Discrimination Using a Macromolecular Sensor in Water at Neutral pH
Penicillins and cephalosporins belong to the β-lactam antibiotic family, which accounts for more than half of the world market for antibiotics. Misuse of antibiotics harms human health and the environment. Here, we describe an easy, fast, and sensitive optical method for the sensing and discrimination of two penicillin and five cephalosporin antibiotics in buffered water at pH 7.4, using fifth-generation poly (amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers and calcein, a commercially available macromolecular polyelectrolyte and a fluorescent dye, respectively. In aqueous solution at pH 7.4, the dendrimer and dye self-assemble to form a sensor that interacts with carboxylate-containing antibiotics through electrostatic interaction, monitored through changes in the dye’s spectroscopic properties. This response was captured through absorbance, fluorescence emission, and fluorescence anisotropy. The resulting data set was processed through linear discriminant analysis (LDA), a common pattern-base recognition method, for the differentiation of cephalosporins and penicillins. By pre-hydrolysis of the β-lactam rings under basic conditions, we were able to increase the charge density of the analytes, allowing us to discriminate the seven analytes at a concentration of 5 mM, with a limit of discrimination of 1 mM.  more » « less
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