SERS primers and their mode of action for pathogen DNA detection

Danny van Lierop, Iain A. Larmour, Karen Faulds, Duncan Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


SERS primers have been used to directly detect specific PCR products utilizing the difference in adsorption of single-stranded and double-stranded DNA onto nanoparticle surfaces. Herein, seven parameters important for improved positive SERS assays for real applications were investigated. First, we applied a model system for optimization experiments, followed by a PCR assay to detect pathogen DNA, and then the introduction of a new assay that utilizes the 5'-> 3' exonuclease activity of Taq DNA polymerase to partly digest the SERS probe, generating dye-labeled single-stranded DNA increasing the SERS signals for detection of pathogen DNA. Applying the model system, it was found that uni-molecular SERS primers perform better than bi-molecular SERS primers. However, within the PCR assays, it was found that uni- and bi-molecular SERS primers performed very similarly, and the most reproducible results were obtained using the 5'-> 6' exonuclease digestion assay. These SERS-based assays offer new routes over conventional fluorescence-based techniques without compromising sensitivity or selectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1408-1414
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2013


  • SERS primers
  • pathogen DNA
  • PCR assays


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