ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 10 (48) 41146-41154 [2018-12-05; online 2018-11-26]
Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) have recently attracted a lot of attention in sensing because of their multifunctional character and properties such as renewability, nontoxicity, biodegradability, printability, and optical transparency in addition to unique physicochemical, barrier, and mechanical properties. However, the focus has exclusively been devoted toward developing two-dimensional sensing platforms in the form of nanopaper or nanocellulose-based hydrogels. To improve the flexibility and sensing performance in situ, for example, to detect biomarkers in vivo for early disease diagnostics, more advanced CNF-based structures are needed. Here, we developed porous and hollow, yet robust, CNF-based microcapsules using only the primary plant cell wall components, CNF, pectin, and xyloglucan, to assemble the capsule wall. The fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled dextrans with M W of 70 and 2000 kDa could enter the hollow capsules at a rate of 0.13 ± 0.04 and 0.014 ± 0.009 s-1, respectively. This property is very attractive because it minimizes the influence of mass transport through the capsule wall on the response time. As a proof of concept, glucose oxidase (GOx) enzyme was loaded (and cross-linked) in the microcapsule interior with an encapsulation efficiency of 68 ± 2%. The GOx-loaded microcapsules were immobilized on a variety of surfaces (here, inside a flow channel, on a carbon-coated sensor or a graphite rod) and glucose concentrations up to 10 mM could successfully be measured. The present concept offers new opportunities in the development of simple, more efficient, and disposable nanocellulose-based analytical devices for several sensing applications including environmental monitoring, healthcare, and diagnostics.