Highly robust, recyclable displacement assay for mercuric ions in aqueous solutions and living cells
Liu, Dingbin ,
Bhirde, Ashwinkumar A.
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We designed a recyclable Hg2+ probe based on Rhodamine B isothiocyanate (RBITC)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-comodified gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) with excellent robustness, selectivity, and sensitivity. On the basis of a rational design, only Hg2+ can displace RBITC from the AuNP surfaces, resulting in a remarkable enhancement of RBITC fluorescence initially quenched by AuNPs. To maintain stability and monodispersity of AuNPs in real samples, thiol-terminated PEG was employed to bind with the remaining active sites of AuNPs. Besides, this displacement assay can be regenerated by resupplying free RBITC into the AuNPs solutions that were already used for detecting Hg2+. Importantly, the detection limit of this assay for Hg2+ (2.3 nM) was lower than the maximum limits guided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as well as that permitted by the World Health Organization. The efficiency of this probe was demonstrated in monitoring Hg2+ in complex samples such as river water and living cells. 漏 2012 American Chemical Society.