Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 28, pp 7313–7323 | Cite as

Graphene quantum dots-based nano-biointerface platform for food toxin detection

  • Hema Bhardwaj
  • Chandan Singh
  • R. K. Kotnala
  • Gajjala SumanaEmail author
Research Paper


Due to the similar electrochemical properties to graphene oxide (GO), graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are considered as a highly potential candidate for designing an electrochemical biosensor. In this report, GQDs were synthesized having an average diameter of 7 nm and utilized for the fabrication of an electrochemical immunosensor for the detection of food toxin, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). An electrophoretic deposition technique was utilized to deposit the chemically synthesized GQDs onto indium tin oxide (ITO)-coated glass substrate. Further, the monoclonal antibodies of AFB1 were covalently immobilized onto deposited electrode GQDs/ITO using EDC-NHS as a crosslinker. The structural and morphological studies of GQDs and conjugated anti-AFB1 with GQDs have been investigated using UV-visible spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy techniques, etc. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry measurements were carried out for electrical characterization and biosensing studies. This simple monodisperse GQDs-based platform yields heterogeneous electron transfer (97.63 × 10−5 cm s−1), the time constant (0.005 s) resulting in improved biosensing performance. The electrochemical immunosensor shows high sensitivity 213.88 Ω (ng mL−1)−1 cm−2. The limit of detection for standard samples and contaminated maize samples was found to be 0.03 ng mL−1 and 0.05 ng g−1, respectively, which is lower than the maximum acceptable limit according to the European Union. This result indicates its potential application for aflatoxin B1 detection in food contents.

Graphical abstract


Graphene quantum dots Electrophoretic deposition Aflatoxin B1 Electrochemical immunosensor Impedance 



The authors are highly thankful to Director, CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, India, for providing the facilities. We thank Dr. A.M. Biradar for his support and encouragement. The authors are thankful to Prof. B. D. Malhotra, Delhi Technical University, for his guidance and useful discussions. H.B. acknowledges the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for financial support, Dr. Ritu Srivastava for PL studies, Mr. Manoj Kumar Pandey for technical help, and Mrs. Monika Kundu for providing infected maize samples. C.S. acknowledges CSIR (India), for the award of Senior Research Fellowship. Authors are also thankful to Mr. Dinesh Singh and Mr. K. N. Sood for TEM and SEM studies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1341_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (537 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 536 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hema Bhardwaj
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chandan Singh
    • 2
  • R. K. Kotnala
    • 2
  • Gajjala Sumana
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Academy of Scientific and Innovative ResearchCSIR-National Physical LaboratoryNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.CSIR-National Physical LaboratoryNew DelhiIndia

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