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In situ labelling and encapsulation of biological entities, such as of single viruses, may provide a versatile approach to modulate their functionality and facilitate their detection at single particle level. Here, we introduce a novel virus metallization approach based on in situ coating of viruses in solution with silver nanoparticles (AgNP) in a two-step synthetic process, i.e. surface activation with a tannic acid - Sn(II) coordination complex, which subsequently induces silver ion (I) reduction. The metalic coating on the virus surface opens the opportunity for electrochemical quantification of the AgNP-tagged viruses by nano-impact electrochemistry on a microelectrode with single particle sensitivity, i.e. enable the detection of particles oherwise undetectable. We show that the silver coating of the virus particles impacting the electrode can be oxidized to produce distinct current peaks the frequency of which show a linear correlation with the virus count. The proof of the concept was done with inactivated Influenza A (H3N2) viruses resulting in their quantitation down to the femtomolar concentrations (ca. 5 × 107 particles per mL) using 50 s counting sequences.


Zsófia Bognár, Marien I de Jonge, Róbert E Gyurcsányi. In situ silver nanoparticle coating of virions for quantification at single virus level. Nanoscale. 2022 Feb 10;14(6):2296-2303

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PMID: 35081610

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