Anticholinesterase activity measurement by a choline biosensor: application in water analysis

M. Bernabei, S. Chiavarini, C. Cremisini, G. Palleschi

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A choline amperometric biosensor was assembled and used to measure the anticholinesterase activity due to compounds (which have the property to inhibit cholinesterase enzymes) present in water samples. This parameter can be used as a 'toxicological index', defined as the amount of compound which causes a certain percentage of cholinesterase inhibition equivalent to a known amount of a reference compound causing the same percentage inhibition. The organophosphorus insecticide Paraoxon, which has proved to be a strong inhibitor of cholinesterase enzymes, was chosen as the reference compound. The analysis was carried out by monitoring the decrease of cholinesterase activity in the presence of a pesticide and a substrate specific for the enzyme whose reaction produces choline. The decrease in choline production was measured by the choline sensor and correlated to the concentration of anticholinesterase compound present in the solution. Parameters such as buffer, pH, temperature and incubation time were optimized. The rate constant Ki was calculated experimentally for Paraoxon and used in the anticholinesterase activity measurements at different fixed incubation times. The probe was calibrated with different standard solutions of Paraoxon. The effect of Paraoxon and heavy metals on the choline probe was evaluated. This probe was then used for the determination of anticholinesterase activity of some organophosphorus pesticides, and heavy metals in spiked waters. Samples were also analysed by liquid/liquid extraction and GC determination. Results seem to correlate with acute toxicity expressed as LD50 (oral, rat). Analysis of water samples from different sources in central Italy were analysed for total anticholinesterase activity (TAA) and compared with a reference procedure. © 1993.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265 - 271
Number of pages7
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry

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