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A biosensor is an analytical device, used for the detection of a chemical substance, that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector. The sensitive biological element, e.g. tissue, microorganisms, organelles, cell receptors, enzymes, antibodies, nucleic acids, etc., is a biologically derived material or biomimetic component that interacts with, binds with, or recognizes the analyte under study. The biologically sensitive elements can also be created by biological engineering. The transducer or the detector element, which transforms one signal into another one, works in a physicochemical way: optical, piezoelectric, electrochemical, electrochemiluminescence etc., resulting from the interaction of the analyte with the biological element, to easily measure and quantify. The biosensor reader device connects with the associated electronics or signal processors that are primarily responsible for the display of the results in a user-friendly way. This sometimes accounts for the most expensive part of the sensor device, however it is possible to generate a user friendly display that includes transducer and sensitive element (holographic sensor). The readers are usually custom-designed and manufactured to suit the different working principles of biosensors. A biosensor typically consists of a bio-receptor (enzyme/antibody/cell/nucleic acid/aptamer), transducer component (semi-conducting material/nanomaterial), and electronic system which includes a signal amplifier, processor & display. Transducers and electronics can be combined, e.g., in CMOS-based microsensor systems The recognition component, often called a bioreceptor, uses biomolecules from organisms or receptors modeled after biological systems to interact with the analyte of interest. This interaction is measured by the biotransducer which outputs a measurable signal proportional to the presence of the target analyte in the sample. The general aim of the design of a biosensor is to enable quick, convenient testing at the point of concern or care where the sample was procured. The use of antibodies as the bio-recognition component of biosensors has several drawbacks. They have high molecular weights and limited stability, contain essential disulfide bonds and are expensive to produce. In one approach to overcome these limitations, recombinant binding fragments (Fab, Fv or scFv) or domains (VH, VHH) of antibodies have been engineered. In another approach, small protein scaffolds with favorable biophysical properties have been engineered to generate artificial families of Antigen Binding Proteins (AgBP), capable of specific binding to different target proteins while retaining the favorable properties of the parent molecule. The elements of the family that specifically bind to a given target antigen, are often selected in vitro by display techniques: phage display, ribosome display, yeast display or mRNA display. The artificial binding proteins are much smaller than antibodies (usually less than 100 amino-acid residues), have a strong stability, lack disulfide bonds and can be expressed in high yield in reducing cellular environments like the bacterial cytoplasm, contrary to antibodies and their derivatives. They are thus especially suitable to create biosensors.

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