Applications of molecular techniques to elucidate identity or function using biomarkers still remain highly empirical and biosensors are no exception. In the present study, target-specific oligonucleotide probes for E. coli K12 were designed thermodynamically and applied in an electrochemical DNA biosensor setup. Biosensor was prepared by immobilization of a stem-loop structured probe, modified with a thiol functional group at its 50 end and a biotin molecule at its 30 end, on a gold electrode through self-assembly. Mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) was used to optimize the surface probe density of the electrode. Hybridization between the immobilized probe and the target DNA was detected via the electrochemical response of streptavidin-horseradish peroxidase in the presence of the substrate. The amperometric response showed a linear relationship with the target DNA concentration, ranging from 10 and 400 nM, with a correlation coefficient of 0.989. High selectivity and good repeatability of the biosensor showed that the thermodynamic approach to oligonucleotide probe design can be used in development of electrochemical DNA biosensors. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.