On-site detection of heavy metals in wastewater using a single paper strip integrated with a smartphone

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A field paper-based heavy metal strip was designed and implemented for simultaneous detection of the heavy metals Zn, Cr, Cu, Pb and Mn in wastewater samples. The colorimetric paper strip was fabricated by drop-casting of chromogenic reagents onto detection zones. When the fabricated paper strip was exposed to Zn, Cr, Cu, Pb and Mn, multiple colors appeared that were then recorded with a smartphone followed by processing in the Color Picker application. After optimizing the analytical parameters, such as the chromogenic concentration, pH and reaction time, the paper strip achieved detection limits of 0.63, 0.07, 0.17, 0.03 and 0.11 mg/L for Zn, Cr, Cu, Pb and Mn, respectively. Five heavy metals analyses were able to be performed within 1 min on one paper strip. This paper strip is accurate with recoveries from 87 to 107%. The results of the proposed paper strip correlated well with those determined by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry of wastewater samples. The use of a single paper strip integrated with a smartphone for the detection of five heavy metals in wastewater represents an all-in-one device with on-site detection, leading to cost-effective and rapid assays that show a great application potential for on-site environmental monitoring.

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This work was financially supported by Research and Researcher for Industry (RRi), Thailand Research Fund (TRF) (Grant no. MSD60I0084).

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Correspondence to Siriwan Teepoo.

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Muhammad-aree, S., Teepoo, S. On-site detection of heavy metals in wastewater using a single paper strip integrated with a smartphone. Anal Bioanal Chem (2020).

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  • Heavy metal
  • Paper strip
  • Smartphone
  • Wastewater