Surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based biosensors were investigated with a view to providing a portable, inexpensive alternative to existing technologies for "real-time" biomolecular interaction analysis of whole cell-ligand interactions. A fiber optic SPR-based (FOSPR) biosensor, employing wavelength-dependent SPR, was constructed to enable continuous real-time data acquisition. In addition, a commercially available integrated angle-dependent SPR-based refractometer (ISPR) was modified to facilitate biosensing applications. Solid-phase detection of whole red blood cells (RBCs) using affinity-captured blood group specific antibodies was demonstrated using the BIACORE 1000, BIACORE Probe, FOSPR, and ISPR sensors. Nonspecific binding of RBCs to the hydrogel-based biointerface was negligible. However, the background noise level of the FOSPR-based biosensor was approximately 25-fold higher than that of the widely used BIACORE 1000 system while that of the ISPR-based biosensor was over 100-fold higher. Nevertheless, the FOSPR biosensor was suitable for the analysis of macromolecular analytes contained in crude matrices.
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