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Application of biosensors in the petrochemical industry: a mini review on the sensing platforms for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons detection

International Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics
Vitor Azevedo Vasconcellos, Vanessa de Freitas Cunha Lins, Ricardo Adriano Dorledo de Faria


The increased awareness of the hazardous effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been the target of several studies in the current literature. PAHs are a group of organic molecules derived from petroleum that contains from two to seven aromatic rings in their structure that have been largely emitted to the environment from natural but especially anthropogenic sources. In this research, we reviewed the main aspects concerning the effects of PAHs in the environment with a special focus on the biosensing platforms recently developed to detect these pollutants. Herein, we reported the use of biosensors as an alternative to the expensive, time-consuming and laborious traditional techniques commonly employed to detect PAHs. Most of the examined literature referred to the use of antibodies and DNA as biological elements to fabricate the sensors, and the electrochemical and optical mechanisms comprised the preferred transduction techniques for this purpose. Among the 16 PAHs present in the priority list established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) with respect to the toxicity and abundance, B[a]P was the pollutant most studied by researchers in the field of biosensors, who found limits of detection in the order of micro molar. Overall, the reviewed biosensors presented significant promise for the reliable, selective and sensitive detection of PAHs in the ecosystem.


polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, biosensor, petroleum, contamination