Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 25, pp 6459–6468 | Cite as

Selective non-enzymatic total bilirubin detection in serum using europium complexes with different β-diketone-derived ligands as luminescence probes

  • Wei Yang
  • Jinfeng Xia
  • Guohong Zhou
  • Danyu Jiang
  • Qiang LiEmail author
  • Shiwei Wang
  • Xiaohong Zheng
  • Xi Li
  • Yibo Shen
  • Xin Li
Research Paper


Three europium(III) complexes, Eu(ectfd)3 (Hectfd = 1-(9-ethyl-9H-carbazol-7-yl)-4,4,4-trifluorobutane-1,3-dione), Eu(tta)3 (Htta = 4,4,4-trifluoro-1-(thiophen-2-yl)-butane-1,3-dione), and Eu(dbt)3 (Hdbt = 2-(4',4',4'-trifluoro-1',3'-dioxobutyl)dibenzothiophene), were synthesized and employed to detect total bilirubin (BR) in blood-serum samples. UV-visible absorption and fluorescence (FL) spectroscopies were used to evaluate the selectivity of each europium (III) fluorescence probe to BR, which was shown to remarkably reduce the luminescence intensities of the europium(III) complexes at a wavelength of 612 nm. The luminescence intensity of each complex is linearly related to BR concentration. Eu(tta)3 was shown to be the more-appropriate fluorescence probe for the sensitive and reliable detection of total BR in blood serum samples than either Eu(ectfd)3 or Eu(dbt)3. This observation can be ascribed to special σ-hole bonding between Htta and BR. In addition, the optimal pH test conditions for the detection of BR in human serum by the Eu(tta)3 probe were determined. Sensitivity was shown to be dramatically affected by the pH of the medium. The experimental results reveal that pH 7.5 is optimal for this probe, which coincides with the pH of human serum. Furthermore, BR detection using the Eu(tta)3 luminescence probe is simple, practical, and relatively free of interference from coexisting substances; it has a minimum detection limit (DL) of 68 nM and is a potential candidate for the routine assessment of total BR in serum samples.

Graphical Abstract


Total bilirubin Europium(III) complex Biosensor Fluorescence quenching σ-hole 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Yang
    • 1
  • Jinfeng Xia
    • 2
  • Guohong Zhou
    • 2
  • Danyu Jiang
    • 2
  • Qiang Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shiwei Wang
    • 2
  • Xiaohong Zheng
    • 1
  • Xi Li
    • 1
  • Yibo Shen
    • 1
  • Xin Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Institute of CeramicsChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina

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