Identificaiton of Dopamine and Vitamin C via voltammetry using various graphene electrodes

Friday, February 12, 2016
Malini Basu, Florida Academy of Sciences, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Every year thousands of people are affected by misdiagnosed neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases cause the progressive loss of structure and function of neurons. Diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntingtin’s and Alzheimer’s are exacerbated by abnormal concentrations of dopamine. This study proposed and analyzed a novel method of dopamine detection via electrochemistry. Nitrogen-doped porous carbon (NDPC) was synthesized from graphite powder and nitrogen gas. NDPC was incorporated in a 1:1 ratio with graphite powder to create a NDPC carbon-paste electrode. NDPC was also combined with graphene and graphite to synthesize another electrode in a 1:1:1 ration. Porous carbon materials are preferential in electrochemical studies due to their increased surface area that allows for easier detection of the electrochemical characteristics of a molecule through increased interactions between the electrode material and analyzed molecule. Cyclic and differential pulse voltammetry were performed on samples of varying concentrations of dopamine and ascorbic acid. In previously conducted voltammetric analyses, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) interferes with dopamine detection and has led to false positives. The NDPC carbon-paste electrode was able to successfully differentiate between ascorbic acid and dopamine. This combination of material allowed for higher peak current values to be recorded for each oxidation peak of the tested biomolecules. A higher current value indicates that the material is more sensitive compared to previously tested materials such as nitrogen doped graphene. NDPC may be further studied to incorporate into diagnosis methods for diseases characterized by decreased dopamine levels.