Highly sensitive atrazine fluorescence immunoassay by using magnetic separation and upconversion nanoparticles as labels


A high-sensitivity fluorescence immunoassay for atrazine was established. It is making use of hydrophilic NaYF4:Yb/Er upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) conjugated to the anti-atrazine antibody as signal probe, and of polystyrene magnetic microspheres (PMMs) conjugated to the coating antigen as the capture probe. The coating antigen on the capture probe competes with atrazine for binding to the antibody on the signal probe to form the immuno complex. The complex is separated from the test system by magnetic action, and its green fluorescence is then measured at excitation/emission wavelengths of 980/552 nm using a fluorescence spectrophotometer equipped with an external 980 nm laser. The method was applied to the determination of atrazine in corn, rice, sugar cane juice, and river water. The immunoassay has a linear range that extends from 0.005 to 10 μg·L−1. The assay also recognizes propazine and prometryn, and it therefore can be applied to detect these three herbicides simultaneously. Sugar cane juice and river water samples can be analyzed directly without any pretreatment. The detection limits for atrazine are 2 ng·L−1 in sugar cane juice and river water samples, and 20 ng·kg−1 in corn and rice samples. The recoveries of spiked samples range from 84.7 to 113.6%.

A sensitive fluorescence immunoassay combining magnetic separation for the detection of atrazine in cereal, juice, and water samples using NaYF4:Yb/Er upconversion nanoparticles as labels.

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This work was supported by the Open Project Program of State Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and Safety, Tianjin University of Science and Technology (Project No. SKLFNS-KF-201819), the Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission (Project No. 16PTSYJC00130), the National Key R and D Program of China (Project No. 2016YFD0401204), and the International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China (Project No. 2014DFR30350).

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Correspondence to Wei Sheng or Shuo Wang.

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Sheng, W., Shi, Y., Ma, J. et al. Highly sensitive atrazine fluorescence immunoassay by using magnetic separation and upconversion nanoparticles as labels. Microchim Acta 186, 564 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-019-3667-3

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  • Lanthanide luminescent materials
  • Polystyrene magnetic microspheres
  • Competitive immunoassay
  • Herbicide
  • Pesticide residues
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Cereals
  • Sugar cane juice
  • River water analysis
  • Food safety