Endogenous and food-derived polyamines: determination by electrochemical sensing
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Polyamines (PAs) are involved in a variety of fundamental physio-pathologic processes. The concentration of these polycations in organs and tissues depends on their endogenous production and oxidation rates, and on their intake from foods. Besides being largely accepted as markers for the progress of several pathologies, PAs may exert themselves different effects on humans, ranging from being positive to be drastically detrimental depending on the organism conditions. Thus, if the determination of polyamines content in tissue samples is of great importance as they could be indicators of several diseases, their quantification in food is fundamental for modulating the diet to respond to a specific human health status. Thus, the determination of PA content in food is increasingly urgent. Standard analytical methods for polyamine quantification are mainly based on chromatography, where high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography are the most often used, involving pre-column or post-column derivatization techniques. Driven by the growing need for rapid in situ analyses, electrochemical biosensors, comprising various combinations of different enzymes or nanomaterials for the selective bio-recognition and detection, are emerging as competitors of standard detection systems. The present review is aimed at providing an up-to-date overview on the recent progresses in the development of sensors and biosensors for the detection of polyamines in human tissues and food samples. Basic principles of different electrochemical (bio)sensor formats are reported and the applications in human tissues and in foods was evidenced.