Tuberculosis (TB) is a resurgent infectious disease affecting a large number of people in the developing countries. An on-site, affordable diagnostic screening at an early-stage for an immediate anti-TB treatment is known to tremendously minimize the high mortality rates. Lipoarabinomannan (LAM), a surface glycolipid, has been identified as a potential TB biomarker present in urine at ultra-low concentrations of a few fg/mL. Here, we report a plasmonic fiber optic absorbance biosensor (P-FAB) strategy for mannosylated LAM (Man-LAM or Mtb LAM) detection down to attomolar concentrations. It involves a plasmonic sandwich immunoassay on a U-bent fiber optic probe with gold plasmonic (AuNP) labels functionalized with anti-Mtb LAM immunoglobulin M (IgM) and anti-Mtb LAM IgG respectively. The Mtb LAM is quantified in terms of absorption of light passing through the fiber probe using a green LED and a photodetector. The choice of fiber optic probes (fused silica versus polymer), the optimum size (20, 40, 60 and 80 nm) and concentration (2 × , 10 × , and 20 × ) of AuNP labels were investigated to obtain high sensitivity and lower limits of analyte detection (LoD). P-FAB with a simple LED-photodetector pair, 200 μm fused silica U-bent fiber probe and 60 nm (20 × ) AuNP labels gave LoDs down to 1 fg/mL and 10 fg/mL in the buffer and synthetic urine respectively. Moreover, the anti-Mtb LAM IgM bound sensor probes and the AuNP reagent stored at 4 °C were stable up to 45 days. P-FAB based Mtb LAM sensor demonstrates its potential for an on-site TB diagnosis.
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