The urgent need to develop a detection system for Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most common causes of infection, is prompting research towards novel approaches and devices, with a particular focus on point-of-care analysis. Biosensors are promising systems to achieve this aim. We coupled the selectivity and affinity of aptamers, short nucleic acids sequences able to recognize specific epitopes on bacterial surface, immobilized at high density on a nanostructured zirconium dioxide surface, with the rational design of specifically interacting fluorescent peptides to assemble an easy-to-use detection device. We show that the displacement of fluorescent peptides upon the competitive binding of S. aureus to immobilized aptamers can be detected and quantified through fluorescence loss. This approach could be also applied to the detection of other bacterial species once aptamers interacting with specific antigens will be identified, allowing the development of a platform for easy detection of a pathogen without requiring access to a healthcare environment.
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