Microchimica Acta

, 186:64 | Cite as

A calcium alginate sponge with embedded gold nanoparticles as a flexible SERS substrate for direct analysis of pollutant dyes

  • Huiping Fu
  • Jiaming Chen
  • Lijuan Chen
  • Xi Zhu
  • Zhuling ChenEmail author
  • Bin Qiu
  • Zhenyu Lin
  • Longhua GuoEmail author
  • Guonan Chen
Original Paper


A surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate with good flexibility and high water absorbing capacity is reported. It consists of a calcium alginate sponge incorporating gold nanoparticles. These are in close contact with the sponge without the need for amino or sulfhydryl modification. The substrate is capable of detecting the dyes crystal violet (CV) and malachite green (MG) in water directly and rapidly by immersing it into the liquid sample. Preconcentration and separation are not required. The dyes absorbed on the sponge can be detected without drying and thus the whole analytical process can be completed within 3 min. The results show that the lowest detectable concentrations are 0.1 and 0.25 μg⋅L−1 for CV and MG, respectively. This is lower than the minimum required performance limits set by the European Commission and the US EPA. Moreover, MG and CV can be simultaneously detected in liquid samples due to their different SERS bands (at 1216 and 1534 cm−1, respectively). It should be noted that the molecular structures of MG and CV are very similar. Therefore, the method has a large potential for determination of several analytes simultaneously even in complex sample metrics.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the fabrication of a sodium alginate sponge loaded with gold nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles together with gel-like alginate were freeze-dried to form the sponge. The sponge was cross-linked by CaCl2 solution and then it was freeze-dried again.


Surface-enhance Raman scattering Gold nanorods Liquid samples Rapid analysis Good flexibility High water absorbing capacity Metallic nanoparticles On-site detection Crystal violet  Malachite green 



This project was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21675028, 21575027, and 21575025), Fujian Province-Chinese Academy of Sciences STS project (2017T31010024), Key Project of Fujian Province (2015Y0050), and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT_15R11).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3173_MOESM1_ESM.doc (947 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 947 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Nanomedicine and NanobiosensingFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.MOE Key Laboratory for Analytical Science of Food Safety and BiologyFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  3. 3.Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Analysis and Detection Technology for Food SafetyFuzhou UniversityFuzhouChina
  4. 4.College of ChemistryFuzhouChina
  5. 5.College of Life SciencesFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina

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