This paper reports a novel aptamer-based fluorescent detection method for small molecules represented by acetamiprid based on the specific binding of aptamers with acetamiprid, and the inner filter effect (IFE) of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on the fluorescence of CdTe quantum dots (CdTe QDs). When CdTe QDs were mixed with AuNPs, the fluorescence of CdTe QDs was significantly quenched via IFE. The IFE efficiency could be readily modulated by the absorption and the aggregation state of AuNPs. The presence of salt could easily induce the aggregation of AuNPs, resulting in the fluorescence recovery of the quenched QDs. Acetamiprid-binding aptamer (ABA) could adsorb on the negatively charged AuNPs through the coordination interaction to protect AuNPs from salt-induced aggregation, so the fluorescence of CdTe QDs would be quenched by the IFE of AuNPs. However, the specific binding of ABA with acetamiprid could release the ABA from the surfaces of AuNPs and decrease the salt tolerance of AuNPs, so the IFE-decreased fluorescence of CdTe QDs was regained with the presence of acetamiprid, and the fluorescence enhancement efficiency was driven by the concentration of acetamiprid. Based on this principle, the aptamer-based fluorescent method for acetamiprid has been established and optimized. The assay exhibited excellent selectivity towards acetamiprid over its analogues and other pesticides which may coexist with acetamiprid. Under the optimum experiment conditions, the established method could be applied for the determination of acetamiprid with a wide linear range from 0.05 to 1.0 μM, and a low detection limit of 7.29 nM (3σ). Furthermore, this IFE-based method has been successfully utilized to detect acetamiprid in six types of vegetables, and the results were in full agreement with those from HPLC and LC-MS. The proposed method displays remarkable advantages of high sensitivity, rapid analysis, excellent selectivity, and would be suitable for the practical application of target screening in real samples.
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This work was financially supported by the Graduate Student Innovation Research Project of Jilin University (no. 2014071), the Natural Science Foundation of Jilin Province (no. 201215024), and the Excellent Youth Talent Cultivation Project of Heping Campus of Jilin University.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.