Magnetic Cu/Fe3O4@FeOOH with intrinsic HRP-like activity at nearly neutral pH for one-step biosensing

  • Yuanlin Huang
  • Guangzhao Liang
  • Tianran LinEmail author
  • Li Hou
  • Fanggui YeEmail author
  • Shulin Zhao
Research Paper


The convenience of colorimetric sensors is useful for practical applications. In this work, we constructed a novel colorimetric sensor with magnetic separation ability that can be operated in nearly neutral conditions and achieve one-step detection of metabolites. Magnetic Cu doped Fe3O4@FeOOH magnetic nanocomposite (Cu/Fe3O4@FeOOH) with an oxygen vacancy was prepared by a one-step self-assembly hydrothermal method, and fully characterized by different methods. The oxygen vacancy generated by the incorporation of Cu2+ cations into the Fe3O4@FeOOH structure was confirmed to be a vital reactive site for enhancing the catalytic activity, which opens up a new way of designing highly efficient enzyme mimics. Benefiting from its inherent horseradish-peroxidase-like activity, a simple and selective enzyme-based colorimetric sensor was developed for one-step detection of H2O2 and cholesterol, and 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine was catalyzed by H2O2 to generate a colored product of oxidized 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine for signaling. H2O2 and cholesterol can be linearly detected in the same range from 0.01 to 0.4 mmol L-1 with detection limits of 0.0075 mmol L-1 and 0.0082 mmol L-1, respectively. The proposed colorimetric sensor has satisfactory reusability, accuracy, and practicability in human serum samples, indicating its potential application for the detection of different metabolites in the fields of life science and analytical science.

Graphical abstract


Cu/Fe3O4@FeOOH Nanozyme Nearly neutral Biosensing Cholesterol 


Funding information

The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21765002), the Guangxi Natural Science Foundation of China (2017GXNSFDA198044), the State Key Laboratory for the Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Medicinal Resources (Guangxi Normal University) (CMEMR2017-A10, CMEMR2018-C11), the Key Project of Guangxi Normal University (2017ZD003), and the BAGUI Scholar Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Guangxi Normal University and was performed in accordance with its ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants before the testing of serum samples obtained from Guilin Hospital of Chinese Traditional and Western Medicine.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2019_1841_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 3.63 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for the Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Medicinal Resources, College of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical ScienceGuangxi Normal UniversityGuilinChina

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