Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms

In an article published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, researchers utilize carbon nanopipettes to elucidate the electrocatalytic activities of a single redox enzyme. The influence of the carbon nanopipette on the enzyme's activities was also reported.

Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms

​​​​​​​Study: Nanoconfined Electrochemical Collision and Catalysis of Single Enzyme inside Carbon Nanopipettes. Image Credit: luchschenF/

Redox Enzymes and Their Uses

Redox enzymes, which have active sites for catalyzing specific redox reactions, have prominent responsibilities in enzyme kinetics and metabolic functions, as well as in catalytic, energy, and biomedical applications sectors.

Redox enzymes are often fixed at the working electrode to expedite charge transport activities and make desirable current signals. Extra mediating compounds are also utilized to link the hidden active surface area within the enzyme structure.

As a result, the sizes, geometries, and activation centers of redox enzymes must be determined to obtain the basic knowledge of charge transport routes. This helps to enable efficient catalytic and sensor applications based on such activities.

Standard morphological assessment approaches only give aggregated physiochemical properties from enzyme assemblages without obtaining data on individual enzymes.

Methods to Study Redox Enzymes

In this scenario, much effort has been spent in studying redox enzymes at the singular entity stage. In addition to visual approaches, solitary redox potential has been identified as a simple but effective tool for characterizing a wide range of micro-entities.

As specific particles settle on a surface of the electrode, they may block redox mediating flows, catalyze particular redox reactions, and experience inductive charging/discharging or electrolytic activities, revealing physical and chemical data on personal substances from present transient conditions.

Even though a technique for revealing a particular enzyme has been established, accurately detecting the catalytic flow from a particular enzyme remains difficult. A redox enzyme, unlike catalytic nanoparticles, has extremely restricted activity areas and must fall on an electrode with the appropriate alignment to properly catalyze a given process.

To create one pA in 1 ms, for instance, the turnover rate of a single enzyme must be more than 106 s-1, which is substantially greater than the average frequency of most organic enzymes. As a result, a specific amplifying technique must be devised to precisely monitor the catalytic properties of a single enzyme.

Conductive Nanopipette and its Advantages

A conducting nanopipette may be an effective opportunity for revealing the electrocatalytic properties of a particular enzyme. Aside from capturing a few or a limited number of enzymes in a limited container, nanoscale confinement may open up new avenues for electrochemical research.

The nanoconfinement phenomenon is believed to enhance the catalytic activity of enzymes in restricted areas, and a 100-fold boost in catalytic properties has been documented.

Conductive nanopipettes would improve the enzymatic activity and create observable current signals in this situation. However, since conducting nanopipettes feature both pipet shapes and electroactive surfaces, resistant pulsing and electrochemical colliding studies may be readily performed as a single body. Furthermore, their modest dimensions would permit reduced background currents and new uses for in vivo evaluation within individual living cells.

In this study, carbon nanopipettes (CNPs) were employed to investigate the electrocatalytic properties of a single enzyme molecule using both surface blocking and electrocatalytic enhancement methodologies. Using the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) enzymes as an example diminishing current signals were exhibited when a solitary HRP lands on the surface of the catalyst and blocks the oxidative degradation of Fe (CN)6

Highlights of the Study

In this study, by using the nanoscale containment within carbon nanopipettes, the researchers were finally able to effectively unveil the electrochemical catalytic characteristics of a single horseradish peroxidase enzyme through both oxidation/reduction techniques.

Electrochemical oxidation pulses appeared at very small horseradish peroxidase levels, leading to the formation of oxygen, whereas electrocatalytic peaks appeared at sufficiently high levels.

The transition frequency of the particular enzyme was then calculated using the ensuing surges, yielding a 10-100-fold boost in enzymatic activity. It is expected that using carbon nanopipettes will aid in discovering electrocatalytic currents from a wide range of enzymes, particularly those with a low output.

Other enzymes' early collision tests were also attempted, and the distinct peaks provided aid in elucidating the essential enzymatic and catalytic properties of the specific enzymes. Furthermore, the carbon nanopipettes' tiny size and electroactive surfaces made them ideal for in vivo electrochemical sensing and monitoring assessments in single cells.


Shen, X., Liu, R., & Wang, D. (2022). Nanoconfined Electrochemical Collision and Catalysis of Single Enzyme inside Carbon Nanopipettes. Analytical Chemistry. Available at:

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Rehan, Shaheer. (2022, June 07). Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms. AZoNano. Retrieved on June 22, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Rehan, Shaheer. "Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms". AZoNano. 22 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Rehan, Shaheer. "Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms". AZoNano. (accessed June 22, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Rehan, Shaheer. 2022. Carbon Nanopipettes, the Key to Understanding Single Enzymatic Mechanisms. AZoNano, viewed 22 June 2024,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.