Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 29 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jeremy I Feldblyum


Acetylcholine, Acetylcholinesterase, Butryrlcholinesterase, Organophosphates, Organophosphorus compounds, Saliva, Biosensors, Environmental monitoring, Butyrylcholinesterase

Subject Categories



Organophosphates are a group of insecticides that are commonly used as chemical warfare agents (CWAs), since they can act as nerve agents by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. Acetylcholinesterase is a vital enzyme of the central nervous system (CNS). This enzyme facilitates the breakdown of acetylthiocholine into thiocholine and acetate. The major goal of the research will be to provide a preliminary rapid, sensitive, and reliable method for sensing organophosphates. Current methods are enzyme inhibition-based – that is, a decrease in absorbance or signal yields a positive indicator for the presence of analyte. Herein, two different novel approaches to organophosphate sensing are described.The first approach focuses on the inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase using a substrate-free assay. This substrate-free concept offers unparalleled possibilities regarding the “dosimeter” approach, where a developed sensor will only provide a signal response in the presence of the target analyte (organophosphates). The second approach uses human saliva instead of the enzyme itself for organophosphate detection. The use of human saliva yields several advantages, including obviation of the need to immobilize and stabilize the enzyme to a surface. Both approaches can be used in field for preliminary detection of the presence of organophosphates or CWAs. The focus of this research is to provide two preliminary detection methods for sensing organophosphates. The results produced from this research offer a wide range of applications for the law enforcement, homeland security, and other government agencies.

Included in

Chemistry Commons