This paper describes a method for the modification of quartz crystal surfaces to be used as a transducer in biosensors that allow recognition and quantification of certain biomolecules (antibodies, enzymes, proteins, etc). Quartz crystal sensors were modified by a plasma based electron beam generator in order to detect the level of the toxin histamine within biological liquids (blood, serum) and food (wine, cheese, fish etc.). Cysteamine and ethylenediamine were used as precursors in the plasma. After each modification step, the layers on the quartz crystal were characterized by frequency measurements. Modified surfaces were also characterized by contact angle, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy to determine the physical and chemical characteristics of the surfaces after each modification. Finally, the performance of the sensors were tested by the response to histamine via frequency shifts. The frequency shifts of the sensors prepared by plasma polymerization of ethylenediamine and cysteamine were approximately 3230 Hz and 5630 Hz, respectively, whereas the frequency change of the unmodified crystal surface was around 575 Hz. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.