Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 4, pp 877–883 | Cite as

A novel fluorescent probe for ascorbic acid based on seed-mediated growth of silver nanoparticles quenching of carbon dots fluorescence

  • Jinshui LiuEmail author
  • Lizhen Wang
  • Huijuan Bao
Research Paper


A novel, economic, and eco-friendly method of detecting ascorbic acid (AA) with excellent sensitivity was developed. The method took advantage of the fluorescence of carbon quantum dots (CDs) decreasing as the AA concentration increased through interactions between AA and Ag(I) in the presence of silver nanoparticle (AgNP) seeds, producing more AgNPs and allowing fluorescence resonance energy transfer between the AgNPs and the CDs. The change in the fluorescence intensity when AA was added was proportional to the AA concentration over the range 0–9.0 μM. The AA detection limit was 0.2 μM. This approach is a new method for determining the concentration of AA.


Fluorescence Carbon dots Silver nanoparticles Ascorbic acid 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Anhui Province, China (1708085MB48), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21205002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Hospital of Anhui Normal University. All blood samples were from healthy persons with their informed consent.

Human and animal rights

No violation of human or animal rights occurred during this investigation.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1505_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (232 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 231 kb)


  1. 1.
    Ji D, Du Y, Meng H, Zhang L, Huang Z, Hu Y, et al. A novel colorimetric strategy for sensitive and rapid sensing of ascorbic acid using cobalt oxyhydroxide nanoflakes and 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine. Sensors Actuatos B Chem. 2018;256:512–9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Liu H, Na W, Liu Z, Chen X, Su X. A novel turn-on fluorescent strategy for sensing ascorbic acid using graphene quantum dots as fluorescent probe. Biosens Bioelectron. 2017;92:229–33.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rumsey SC, Levine M. Absorption, transport, and disposition of ascorbic acid in humans. J Nutr Biochem. 1998;9(3):116–30.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zhao S, Huang Y, Liu Y-M. Microchip electrophoresis with chemiluminescence detection for assaying ascorbic acid and amino acids in single cells. J Chromatogr A. 2009;1216(39):6746–51.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ergün E, Kart Ş, Zeybek DK, Zeybek B. Simultaneous electrochemical determination of ascorbic acid and uric acid using poly(glyoxal-bis(2-hydroxyanil)) modified glassy carbon electrode. Sensors Actuators B Chem. 2016;224:55–64.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hameed S, Munawar A, Khan WS, Mujahid A, Ihsan A, Rehman A, et al. Assessing manganese nanostructures based carbon nanotubes composite for the highly sensitive determination of vitamin C in pharmaceutical formulation. Biosens Bioelectron. 2017;89:822–8.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Abbasi A, Shakir M. An inner filter effect based Schiff base chemosensor for recognition of Cr(VI) and ascorbic acid in water matrices. New J Chem. 2018;42(1):293–300.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wang X, Wu P, Hou X, Lv Y. An ascorbic acid sensor based on protein-modified Au nanoclusters. Analyst. 2013;138(1):229–33.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fong JFY, Chin SF, Ng SM. A unique “turn-on” fluorescence signalling strategy for highly specific detection of ascorbic acid using carbon dots as sensing probe. Biosens Bioelectron. 2016;85:844–52.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Huang H, Wang B, Chen M, Liu M, Leng Y, Liu X, et al. Fluorescence turn-on sensing of ascorbic acid and alkaline phosphatase activity based on graphene quantum dots. Sensors Actuators B Chem. 2016;235:356–61.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen X, Gong F, Cao Z, Zou W, Gu T. Highly cysteine-selective fluorescent nanoprobes based on ultrabright and directly synthesized carbon quantum dots. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2018;410(12):2961–70.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kuo T-R, Sung S-Y, Hsu C-W, Chang C-J, Chiu T-C, Hu C-C. One-pot green hydrothermal synthesis of fluorescent nitrogen-doped carbon nanodots for in vivo bioimaging. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2015;408(1):77–82.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Li H, Liu R, Liu Y, Huang H, Yu H, Ming H, et al. Carbon quantum dots/Cu2O composites with protruding nanostructures and their highly efficient (near) infrared photocatalytic behavior. J Mater Chem. 2012;22(34):17470.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Omer KM. Highly passivated phosphorous and nitrogen co-doped carbon quantum dots and fluorometric assay for detection of copper ions. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2018;410(24):6331–6.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gao L, Ju L, Cui H. Chemiluminescent and fluorescent dual-signal graphene quantum dots and their application in pesticide sensing arrays. J Mater Chem C. 2017;5(31):7753–8.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Llorent-Martínez EJ, Durán GM, Ríos Á, Ruiz-Medina A. Graphene quantum dots–terbium ions as novel sensitive and selective time-resolved luminescent probes. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2017;410(2):391–8.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lim SY, Shen W, Gao Z. Carbon quantum dots and their applications. Chem Soc Rev. 2015;44(1):362–81.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chaudhary S, Kumar S, Kaur B, Mehta SK. Potential prospects for carbon dots as a fluorescence sensing probe for metal ions. RSC Adv. 2016;6(93):90526–36.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fu H, Ji Z, Chen X, Cheng A, Liu S, Gong P, et al. A versatile ratiometric nanosensing approach for sensitive and accurate detection of Hg2+ and biological thiols based on new fluorescent carbon quantum dots. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2017;409(9):2373–82.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bhattacharjee Y, Chakraborty A. Label-free cysteamine-capped silver nanoparticle-based colorimetric assay for Hg(II) detection in water with subnanomolar exactitude. ACS Sustain Chem Eng. 2014;2(9):2149–54.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhu D, Chao J, Pei H, Zuo X, Huang Q, Wang L, et al. Coordination-mediated programmable assembly of unmodified oligonucleotides on plasmonic silver nanoparticles. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015;7(20):11047–52.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Liu J, Dong ZZ, Yang C, Li G, Wu C, Lee FW, et al. Turn-on luminescent probe for hydrogen peroxide sensing and imaging in living cells based on an iridium(III) complex–silver nanoparticle platform. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Li J, Li Y, Shahzad SA, Chen J, Chen Y, Wang Y, et al. Fluorescence turn-on detection of glucose via the Ag nanoparticle mediated release of a perylene probe. Chem Commun. 2015;51(29):6354–6.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gong X, Liu Y, Yang Z, Shuang S, Zhang Z, Dong C. An “on-off-on” fluorescent nanoprobe for recognition of chromium(VI) and ascorbic acid based on phosphorus/nitrogen dual-doped carbon quantum dot. Anal Chim Acta. 2017;968:85–96.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Shangguan J, Huang J, He D, He X, Wang K, Ye R, et al. Highly Fe3+−selective fluorescent nanoprobe based on ultrabright N/P codoped carbon dots and its application in biological samples. Anal Chem. 2017;89(14):7477–84.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Liang Q, Wang Y, Lin F, Jiang M, Li P, Huang B. A facile microwave-hydrothermal synthesis of fluorescent carbon quantum dots from bamboo tar and their application. Anal Methods. 2017;9(24):3675–81.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gong X, Zhang Q, Gao Y, Shuang S, Choi MMF, Dong C. Phosphorus and nitrogen dual-doped hollow carbon dot as a nanocarrier for doxorubicin delivery and biological imaging. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016;8(18):11288–97.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Parmar AK, Valand NN, Solanki KB, Menon SK. Picric acid capped silver nanoparticles as a probe for colorimetric sensing of creatinine in human blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples. Analyst. 2016;141(4):1488–98.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wang Y, Zhang P, Mao X, Fu W, Liu C. Seed-mediated growth of bimetallic nanoparticles as an effective strategy for sensitive detection of vitamin C. Sensors Actuators B Chem. 2016;231:95–101.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Xiong Y, Zhang Y, Rong P, Yang J, Wang W, Liu D. A high-throughput colorimetric assay for glucose detection based on glucose oxidase-catalyzed enlargement of gold nanoparticles. Nanoscale. 2015;7(38):15584–8.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lim SY, Kim JH, Lee JS, Park CB. Gold nanoparticle enlargement coupled with fluorescence quenching for highly sensitive detection of analytes. Langmuir. 2009;25(23):13302–5.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wang L, Liu J, Zhou Z, Xu M, Wang B. Convenient fluorescence detection of Cr(iii) in aqueous solution based on the gold nanoparticle mediated release of the acridine orange probe. Anal Methods. 2017;9(11):1786–91.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Mao M, Tian T, He Y, Ge Y, Zhou J, Song G. Inner filter effect based fluorometric determination of the activity of alkaline phosphatase by using carbon dots codoped with boron and nitrogen. Microchim Acta. 2017;185(1).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hu Y, Zhang L, Geng X, Ge J, Liu H, Li Z. A rapid and sensitive turn-on fluorescent probe for ascorbic acid detection based on carbon dots–MnO2 nanocomposites. Anal Methods. 2017;9(38):5653–8.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Zheng M, Xie Z, Qu D, Li D, Du P, Jing X, et al. On–off–on fluorescent carbon dot nanosensor for recognition of chromium(VI) and ascorbic acid based on the inner filter effect. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013;5(24):13242–7.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hu L, Deng L, Alsaiari S, Zhang D, Khashab NM. “Light-on” sensing of antioxidants using gold nanoclusters. Anal Chem. 2014;86(10):4989–94.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Dãnet AF, Badea M, Aboul-Enein HY. Flow injection system with chemiluminometric detection for enzymatic determination of ascorbic acid. Luminescence. 2000;15(5):305–9.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hu W, Sun D, Ma W. Silver doped poly(l-valine) modified glassy carbon electrode for the simultaneous determination of uric acid, ascorbic acid and dopamine. Electroanalysis. 2010;22(5):584–9.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Chen X, Xu Y, Li H, Liu B. A nanoclay-based magnetic/fluorometric bimodal strategy for ascorbic acid detection. Sensors Actuators B Chem. 2017;246:344–51.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Li N, Li Y, Han Y, Pan W, Zhang T, Tang B. A highly selective and instantaneous nanoprobe for detection and imaging of ascorbic acid in living cells and in vivo. Anal Chem. 2014;86(8):3924–30.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Chauhan N, Narang J, Pundir CS. Fabrication of multiwalled carbon nanotubes/polyaniline modified Au electrode for ascorbic acid determination. Analyst. 2011;136(9):1938.Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemistry and Materials Science, Anhui Key Laboratory of Chemo/Biosensing, The Key Laboratory of Functional Molecular Solids, Ministry of Education, Anhui Laboratory of Molecule-Based MaterialsAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina

Personalised recommendations