Label-free determination of picogram quantities of DNA by stripping voltammetry with solid copper amalgam or mercury electrodes in the presence of copper
Highly sensitive label-free techniques of DNA determination are particularly interesting in relation to the present development of the DNA sensors. We show that subnanomolar concentrations (related to monomer content) of unlabeled DNA can be determined using copper solid amalgam electrodes or hanging mercury drop electrodes in the presence of copper. DNA is first treated with acid (e.g., 0.5 M perchloric acid), and the acid-released purine bases are directly determined by the cathodic stripping voltammetry. Volumes of 5 - 3 muL of acid-treated DNA can easily be analyzed, thus making possible the determination of picogram and subpicogram amounts of DNA corresponding to attomole and subattomole quantities of 1000-base pair DNA. Application of this determination in DNA hybridization detection is demonstrated using surface H for the hybridization (superparamagnetic beads with covalently attached DNA probe) and the mercury electrodes only for the determination of DNA selectively captured at surface H.