Sensitive detection of histamine using fluorescently labeled oxido-reductases

Marsia Gustiananda, Alessio Andreoni, Leandro C. Tabares, Armand W.J.W. Tepper, Luca Fortunato, Thijs J. Aartsma, Gerard W. Canters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A detection scheme is described by which the histamine contents of biological samples can be established. The scheme is based on the use of methylamine dehydrogenase (MADH) which converts primary amines into the corresponding aldehydes and ammonia. The generated reducing equivalents are subsequently transferred to the physiological partner of MADH, amicyanin, which thereby is converted from the oxidized blue-colored form into the reduced colorless form. The change in absorption is detected by monitoring the fluorescence of a covalently attached Cy5 dye label whose fluorescence is (partly) quenched by Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) to the Cu-site of the amicyanin. The quenching efficiency and, thereby, the label fluorescence, depends on the oxidation state of the amicyanin. When adding histamine to the assay mixture the proportionality between the substrate concentration and the observed rate of the fluorescence increase has enabled this assay as a sensor method with high sensitivity. The MADH and amicyanin composition can be tuned so that the sensor can be adapted over a broad range of histamine concentrations (13. nM-225. μM). The lowest concentration detected so far is 13. nM of histamine. The sensor retained its linearity up to 225. μM with a coefficient of variation of 11% for 10 measurements of 100. nM histamine in a 100. μL sample volume. The use of a label fluorescing around 660. nm helps circumventing the interference from background fluorescence in biological samples. The sensor has been tested to detect histamine in biological fluids such as fish extracts and blood serum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work was supported by the Dutch Science Foundation under the auspices of the Foundation for the Chemical Sciences (project nr. 700.56.304). Support from NWO through a Veni grant (project nr. 700.54.411) (AWJWT), from the Erasmus programme (LF) , and from the EU through the EdRox RTN network 035649-2 (AA, LCT), is gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank Future Diagnostics Co. (Wijchen, The Netherlands) for the kind gift of serum samples.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Amicyanin
  • Biosensor
  • Cy5
  • Fluorescence
  • Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)
  • Histamine (MW=111)
  • Methylamine dehydrogenase (MADH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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