Biosensors that depend on a physical or chemical measurement can be adversely affected by non-specific interactions. For example, a biosensor designed to measure specifically the levels of a rare analyte can give false positive results if there is even a small amount of interaction with a highly abundant but irrelevant molecule. To overcome this limitation, the biosensor community has frequently turned to antibody molecules as recognition elements because they are renowned for their exquisite specificity. Unfortunately antibodies can often fail when immobilised on inorganic surfaces, and alternative biological recognition elements are needed. This article reviews the available non-antibody-binding proteins that have been successfully used in electrical and micro-mechanical biosensor platforms.

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