Strategies to develop antifouling surface coatings are crucial for surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensing in many analytical application fields, such as detecting human disease biomarkers for clinical diagnostics and monitoring foodborne pathogens and toxins involved in food quality control. In this review, firstly, we provide a brief discussion with considerations about the importance of adopting appropriate antifouling materials for achieving excellent performances in biosensing for food safety and clinical diagnosis. Secondly, a non-exhaustive landscape of polymeric layers is given in the context of surface modification and the mechanism of fouling resistance. Finally, we present an overview of some selected developments in SPR sensing, emphasizing applications of antifouling materials and progress to overcome the challenges related to the detection of targets in complex matrices relevant for diagnosis and food biosensing. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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