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Gold nanoparticle-based colorimetric sensing of dipicolinic acid from complex samples

Baig, MirzaMuhammad Fahad, Chen, Yu-Chie
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2018 v.410 no.6 pp. 1805-1815
Bacillus cereus, bacterial spores, calcium, chelation, color, colorimetry, detection limit, ions, nanogold, neurotoxicity, phosphates, soil
Dipicolinic acid (DPA) can cause neurotoxicity and is abundant in bacterial spores. Although analytical methods have been reported for DPA detection with high sensitivity, their selectivity toward DPA is declined greatly in the presence of phosphates in the samples. In this study, we developed an approach for DPA detection that is not affected by the presence of phosphates. A colorimetric method based on the use of gold nanoparticles (AuNP) complexed with Ca²⁺ as sensing agents was explored for DPA detection. Calcium ions and glutathione-capped gold nanoparticles (AuNPs@GSH) can easily form complexes (Ca²⁺-AuNP@GSH) through GSH-Ca²⁺ chelation, leading to the aggregation of AuNPs@GSH. The aggregation resulting from the complexes of AuNPs@GSH and Ca²⁺ can be reversed with the addition of DPA owing to the high formation constant (log Kf = 4.4) between DPA and Ca²⁺. Furthermore, the color of AuNPs@GSH changes from red to purple when complexed with Ca²⁺, returning to red upon addition of DPA. The limit of detection of this sensing method toward DPA was estimated to be as low as ~ 2 μM. The feasibility of using the sensing method for quantitative detection of DPA in soil and Bacillus cereus spore samples was also demonstrated. Graphical abstract A AuNP-based colorimetric sensing method against dipicolinic acid is developed.