A dual-mode nanoprobe for the determination of parathion methyl based on graphene quantum dots modified silver nanoparticles


We developed a highly sensitive and selective method for double-signal analysis (fluorescence and ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometry) of organophosphorus pesticides (OPs), based on reversible quenching of graphene quantum dots (GQDs; fluorophores) with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs; absorbers). We used acetylcholinesterase to catalytically convert acetylthiocholine into thiocholine. In turn, by competitive binding to the AgNPs, the produced thiocholine displaces AgNPs from the GQDs and thus induces fluorescence recovery. However, OP analytes inhibit the activity of acetylcholinesterase and, in so doing, retain the silver–graphene nanoparticle complex and fluorescence quenching. The degree of quenching is proportional to the concentration of OPs; the detection limit is as low as 0.017 μg/L. The ultraviolet–visible absorption of GQDs/AgNPs at 390 nm decreases—because of AgNP aggregation that occurs after desorption from the GQDs—and the absorbance is linearly proportional to the OP concentration. Our system has good selectivity to substances that are commonly present in water and vegetables. We successfully applied our method to OP analysis in water, apple, and carrot samples.

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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21765015, 21808099) and the Science and Technology Innovation Platform of Jiangxi Province (20192BCD40001), China.

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Correspondence to Ping Qiu.

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Li, Y., Chen, S., Lin, D. et al. A dual-mode nanoprobe for the determination of parathion methyl based on graphene quantum dots modified silver nanoparticles. Anal Bioanal Chem (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-020-02773-8

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  • Dual-signal
  • GQDs/AgNPs
  • Fluorescence
  • UV–vis spectrophotometry
  • Pesticide