Detection of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) by displacement of antibodies

Inger Vikholm-Lundin (Corresponding Author), Sanna Auer, Ann-Charlotte Hellgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A molecular layer with low non-specific binding enabling determination of low concentrations of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) by the displacement of antibodies has been developed. Antibody Fab′-fragments at various concentrations have been site-directly immobilised on gold and intercalated with a hydrophilic non-ionic polymer that reduces non-specific binding. Bovine serum albumin conjugated with MDMA and various concentrations of anti-MDMA antibodies were bound to the layer. The amount of conjugates and antibodies bound was dependent on the amount of Fab′-fragments in the layer. Antibodies were also bound to the conjugates physisorbed directly onto the gold surface and in mixtures with the polymer or with a lipoamide. A high displacement of antibodies was observed by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on interaction of MDMA with the different layers in buffer solution. No displacement could, however, be observed in saliva with the pure conjugate layer because of a high non-specific binding of proteins. When the conjugates were coupled to the surface through the antibody Fab-fragment/polymer layer, MDMA concentrations as low as 0.02 ng mL−1 (0.14 nM) could easily be detected in buffer. In diluted saliva the lowest limit of detection was 0.4 ng mL−1 enabling determination of drugs from saliva with a cut-off concentration of 2 ng mL−1. The molecular layer of antibody Fab′-fragments and polymer thus shows great potential for binding conjugates and antibodies that can be displaced on the interaction with very low concentrations of small-sized molecules. A low non-specific binding is guaranteed by the presence of the hydrophilic polymer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • immobilisation
  • antibody displacement
  • surface plasmon resonance
  • drugs of abuse
  • MDMA
  • ecstasy


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