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Oxidation of l-Cysteine at a Fluorosurfactant-Modified Gold Electrode:  Lower Overpotential and Higher Selectivity

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journal contribution
posted on 09.10.2007, 00:00 by Zuofeng Chen, Huzhi Zheng, Chao Lu, Yanbing Zu
We describe the oxidation of l-cysteine (CySH) at a fluorosurfactant (i.e., Zonyl FSO)-modified gold electrode (FSO−Au). Significantly reduced anodic overpotential of CySH was observed. The FSO layer inhibited the adsorption of CySH and its oxidation products at the gold electrode surface, and the low coverage of the adsorbed thiol-containing species might account for the more facile electron-transfer kinetics of free CySH at low potentials. An electrochemical impedance spectroscopy study revealed the lower charge-transfer resistance of CySH oxidation at the FSO−Au electrode as compared to that at a bare gold electrode. Interestingly, although the FSO layer facilitated CySH oxidation, the anodic responses of other electroactive biological species such as glucose, uric acid, and ascorbic acid were generally suppressed. Furthermore, the modified electrode was capable of differentiating CySH from other low-molecular-mass biothiols such as homocysteine and glutathione. The unique features of the FSO−Au electrode allowed for the development of a highly selective method of detecting CySH in complex biological matrices. The direct determination of free reduced and total CySH in human urine samples has been successfully carried out without the assistance of any separation techniques.