Microchimica Acta

, 186:45 | Cite as

CdSe/ZnS quantum dots coated with carboxy-PEG and modified with the terbium(III) complex of guanosine 5′-monophosphate as a fluorescent nanoprobe for ratiometric determination of arsenate via its inhibition of acid phosphatase activity

  • Shao-Hua Wen
  • Ru-Ping LiangEmail author
  • Hui-Hui Zeng
  • Li Zhang
  • Jian-Ding QiuEmail author
Original Paper


A ratiometric fluorometric method is described for the determination of arsenate via its inhibitory effect on the activity of the enzyme acid phosphatase. A nanoprobe was designed that consists of CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) coated with the terbium(III) complex of guanosine monophosphate (Tb-GMP). The nanoprobe was synthesized from carboxylated QDs, Tb(III) and GMP via binding of Tb(III) by both the carboxy and the phosphate groups. The nanoprobe, under single-wavelength excitation (at 280 nm), displays dual (red and green) emission, with peaks at around 652 nm from the QDs, and at 547 nm from the Tb-GMP coordination polymers. It is shown to be a viable nanoprobe for fluorometric determination of As(V) detection through it inhibitory action on the activity of acid phosphatase (ACP). The enzyme destroys the Tb-GMP structure via hydrolysis of GMP, and hence the fluorescence of the Tb-GMP complex is quenched. In contrast, the fluorescence of the CdSe/ZnS QDs remains inert to ACP. It therefore can serve as an internal reference signal. In the presence of arsenate (an analog of phosphate), the activity of ACP is inhibited due to competitive binding. Thus, hydrolysis of GMP is prevented. These findings were used to design a ratiometric fluorometric method for the quantification of As(V). The ratio of fluorescences at 547 and 652 nm increases linearly in the 0.5 to 200 ppb As(V) concentation range, and the limit of detection is 0.39 ppb. Under a UV lamp, the probe shows distinguishable color from green to red on increasing the concentration of As(V).

Graphical abstract

Schematic illustration of CdSe/ZnS quantum dot coated with carboxy-PEG and modified with the terbium(III)-GMP complex as a fluorescent nanoprobe for ratiometric determination of arsenate via its inhibition of ACP activity.


CdSe/ZnS QDs Terbium Guanosine monophosphate Enzyme Inhibition Fluorometry Visual assay Real samples 



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21675078, 21775065 and 21475056), the Key Project of Scientific and Technological Innovation Talents in Jiangxi Province (20165BCB18022) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangxi Province (20171BAB203016).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3125_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2140 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ChemistryNanchang UniversityNanchangChina
  2. 2.Environmental Protection Materials and Equipment Engineering Technology Center of Jiangxi, College of Materials and Chemical EngineeringPingxiang UniversityPingxiangChina

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