Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1931–1939 | Cite as

C-phycocyanin from Spirulina maxima as a Green Fluorescent Probe for the Highly Selective Detection of Mercury(II) in Seafood

  • Yanhua Hou
  • Meihong Yan
  • Quanfu Wang
  • Yifan Wang
  • Yifeng Xu
  • Yatong Wang
  • Haoyuan Li
  • Hua Wang


In this work, a highly selective and sensitive fluorimetric method has been developed for sensing mercury ions in seafood using a fluorescent probe of C-phycocyanin (C-PC) from Spirulina maxima. The interactions between C-PC and mercury ions were systematically characterized by UV-vis spectrophotometer, microscopy imaging, and fluorescence measurements. It was found that the C-PC fluorescence could be quenched by mercury ions triggering the C-PC aggregation phenomenon. Importantly, the fluorescence intensities of C-PC probes could be linearly changed depending on the concentrations of mercury ions, showing the detection limit of 0.0080 μM, and the relative standard deviation of this method was about 1.9%. Moreover, the developed fluorimetry method was successfully applied to detect mercury ions in the real seafood samples (oysters and Pampus argenteus samples), with the acceptable rate of recovery between 93.6 and 107.2%. Such a green, efficient, and cost-effective fluorimetric method of C-PC probe should promise the wide applications for tracing mercury ions levels in seafood.


C-phycocyanin Fluorescent probe Mercury Seafood 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31100037 and 21375075), the National Science & Technology Pillar Program during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2015BAD17B03), the Subject Construction Fund Guided by HIT (WH20150206 and WH20160206), the Key Research and Development Plan of Shandong Province (2015GSF115016), and the Science and Technology Development Project of Weihai (2015DXGJZD002).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Yanhua Hou declares that she has no conflict of interest. Meihong Yan declares that she has no conflict of interest. Quanfu Wang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Yifan Wang declares that she has no conflict of interest. Yifeng Xu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Yatong Wang declares that she has no conflict of interest. Haoyuan Li declares that he has no conflict of interest. Hua Wang declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanhua Hou
    • 1
  • Meihong Yan
    • 1
  • Quanfu Wang
    • 1
  • Yifan Wang
    • 1
  • Yifeng Xu
    • 1
  • Yatong Wang
    • 1
  • Haoyuan Li
    • 1
  • Hua Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Marine Science and TechnologyHarbin Institute of TechnologyWeihaiChina
  2. 2.College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringQufu Normal UniversityQufuChina

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