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A method for determining average iron content of ferritin by measuring its optical dispersion

Gupta, Ruchi; Alamrani, Nasser A.; Greenway, Gillian M.; Pamme, Nicole; Goddard, Nicholas J.


Ruchi Gupta

Nasser A. Alamrani

Gillian M. Greenway

Nicole Pamme

Nicholas J. Goddard


© 2019 American Chemical Society. We report a method where the refractive index increments of an iron storage protein, ferritin, and apoferritin (ferritin minus iron) were measured over the wavelength range of 450-678 nm to determine the average iron content of the protein. The protein used in this study had ∼3375 iron atoms per molecule. The measurement of optical dispersion over the broad wavelength range was enabled by the use of mesoporous leaky waveguides (LWs) made of chitosan. We present a facile approach for fabricating mesoporous chitosan waveguides for improving the measurement sensitivity of macromolecules such as ferritin. Mesoporous materials allow macromolecules to diffuse into the waveguide, maximizing their interaction with the optical mode and thus increasing sensitivity by a factor of ∼9 in comparison to nonporous waveguides. The sensitivity was further improved and selectivity toward ferritin was achieved by the incorporation of antibodies in the waveguide. The method presented in this work is a significant advance over the state of the art method, the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) used in clinics, because it allows determining the average content of ferritin in a single step. The average iron content of ferritin is an important marker for conditions such as injury, inflammation, and infection. Thus, the approach presented here of measuring optical dispersion to determine the average iron content of ferritin has a significant potential to improve the point of care analysis of the protein for disease diagnosis and screening.


Gupta, R., Alamrani, N. A., Greenway, G. M., Pamme, N., & Goddard, N. J. (2019). A method for determining average iron content of ferritin by measuring its optical dispersion. Analytical chemistry, 91(11), 7366-7372.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 6, 2019
Online Publication Date May 6, 2019
Publication Date Jun 4, 2019
Deposit Date May 10, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Analytical Chemistry
Print ISSN 0003-2700
Electronic ISSN 1520-6882
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 91
Issue 11
Pages 7366-7372
Keywords Analytical Chemistry
Public URL
Publisher URL


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