Staff directory Liming Hu

Liming Hu

Fellowship Doctoral Student
China Scholarship Council
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors



  • Improved Aliivibrio fischeri based-toxicity assay: Graphene-oxide as a sensitivity booster with a mobile-phone application

    Bergua J.F., Álvarez-Diduk R., Hu L., Hassan A.H.A., Merkoçi A. Journal of Hazardous Materials; 406 (124434) 2021. 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124434. IF: 9.038

    Recently, many bioluminescence-based applications have arisen in several fields, such as biosensing, bioimaging, molecular biology, and human health diagnosis. Among all bioluminescent organisms, Aliivibrio fischeri (A. fischeri) is a bioluminescent bacterium used to carry out water toxicity assays since the late 1970s. Since then, several commercial A. fischeri-based products have been launched to the market, as these bacteria are considered as a gold standard for water toxicity assessment worldwide. However, the aforementioned commercial products rely on expensive equipment, requiring several reagents and working steps, as well as high-trained personnel to perform the assays and analyze the output data. For these reasons, in this work, we have developed for the first time a mobile-phone-based sensing platform for water toxicity assessment in just 5 min using two widespread pesticides as model analytes. To accomplish this, we have established new methodologies to enhance the bioluminescent signal of A. fischeri based on the bacterial culture in a solid media and/or using graphene oxide. Finally, we have addressed the biocompatibility of graphene oxide to A. fischeri, boosting the sensitivity of the toxicity assays and the bacterial growth of the lyophilized bacterial cultures for more user-friendly storage. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Lateral flow assay modified with time-delay wax barriers as a sensitivity and signal enhancement strategy

    Sena-Torralba A., Ngo D.B., Parolo C., Hu L., Álvarez-Diduk R., Bergua J.F., Rosati G., Surareungchai W., Merkoçi A. Biosensors and Bioelectronics; 168 (112559) 2020. 10.1016/j.bios.2020.112559. IF: 10.257

    The ease of use, low cost and quick operation of lateral flow assays (LFA) have made them some of the most common point of care biosensors in a variety of fields. However, their generally low sensitivity has limited their use for more challenging applications, where the detection of low analytic concentrations is required. Here we propose the use of soluble wax barriers to selectively and temporarily accumulate the target and label nanoparticles on top of the test line (TL). This extended internal incubation step promotes the formation of the immune-complex, generating a 51.7-fold sensitivity enhancement, considering the limit of quantification, and up to 96% signal enhancement compared to the conventional LFA for Human IgG (H-IgG) detection. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.

  • Tutorial: design and fabrication of nanoparticle-based lateral-flow immunoassays

    Parolo C., Sena-Torralba A., Bergua J.F., Calucho E., Fuentes-Chust C., Hu L., Rivas L., Álvarez-Diduk R., Nguyen E.P., Cinti S., Quesada-González D., Merkoçi A. Nature Protocols; 15 (12): 3788 - 3816. 2020. 10.1038/s41596-020-0357-x. IF: 10.419

    Lateral-flow assays (LFAs) are quick, simple and cheap assays to analyze various samples at the point of care or in the field, making them one of the most widespread biosensors currently available. They have been successfully employed for the detection of a myriad of different targets (ranging from atoms up to whole cells) in all type of samples (including water, blood, foodstuff and environmental samples). Their operation relies on the capillary flow of the sample throughout a series of sequential pads, each with different functionalities aiming to generate a signal to indicate the absence/presence (and, in some cases, the concentration) of the analyte of interest. To have a user-friendly operation, their development requires the optimization of multiple, interconnected parameters that may overwhelm new developers. In this tutorial, we provide the readers with: (i) the basic knowledge to understand the principles governing an LFA and to take informed decisions during lateral flow strip design and fabrication, (ii) a roadmap for optimal LFA development independent of the specific application, (iii) a step-by-step example procedure for the assembly and operation of an LF strip for the detection of human IgG and (iv) an extensive troubleshooting section addressing the most frequent issues in designing, assembling and using LFAs. By changing only the receptors, the provided example procedure can easily be adapted for cost-efficient detection of a broad variety of targets. © 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.