Microchimica Acta

, 186:127 | Cite as

Carbon-dot wrapped ZnO nanoparticle-based photoelectrochemical sensor for selective monitoring of H2O2 released from cancer cells

  • Faria Khan
  • Naeem AkhtarEmail author
  • Nasir Jalal
  • Irshad Hussain
  • Rafal Szmigielski
  • Muhammad Qasim Hayat
  • Hafiz B. Ahmad
  • Waleed A. El-Said
  • Minghui YangEmail author
  • Hussnain Ahmed JanjuaEmail author
Original Paper


This study reports on a simple approach for the fabrication of an electrode modified with biocompatible C-dot wrapped ZnO nanoparticles for selective photoelectrochemical monitoring of H2O2 released from living cells. The biocompatibility of the ZnO nanoparticles was confirmed through in-vitro cellular testing using the MTT assay on Huh7 cell lines. The ZnO nanoparticles wrapped with dopamine-derived C-dots possess numerous catalytically active sites, excessive surface defects, good electrical conductivity, and efficient separation ability of photo-induced electrons and holes. These properties offer highly sensitive and selective non-enzymatic photo-electrochemical monitoring of H2O2 released from HeLa cells after stimulation with N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. The sensor has a wide linear range (20–800 nM), low detection limit (2.4 nM), and reliable reproducibility, this implying its suitability for biological and biomedical applications.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of the fabrication of ZnO nanoparticles by using a plant extract as a reducing agent. Wrapping of ZnO with C-dots enhances the photoelectrocatalytic efficacy. Sensitive and selective photoelectrochemical monitoring of H2O2 released from cancer cells is demonstrated.


H2O2 Reactive oxygen species Photo-electrochemical Biocompatibility Surface defects Bio-nanomaterials 


Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3227_MOESM1_ESM.doc (966 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 965 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faria Khan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Naeem Akhtar
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Nasir Jalal
    • 6
  • Irshad Hussain
    • 7
  • Rafal Szmigielski
    • 3
  • Muhammad Qasim Hayat
    • 7
  • Hafiz B. Ahmad
    • 4
  • Waleed A. El-Said
    • 8
  • Minghui Yang
    • 9
    Email author
  • Hussnain Ahmed Janjua
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Biotechnology, Atta ur Rahman School of Applied BiosciencesNational University of Science Technology (NUST)IslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Plant Biotechnology, Atta ur Rahman School of Applied BiosciencesNational University of Science Technology (NUST)IslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Physical ChemistryPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Interdisciplinary Research Center in Biomedical Materials (IRCBM)COMSATS University IslamabadLahorePakistan
  5. 5.National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)Tsukuba-shiJapan
  6. 6.School of Pharmaceutical Science and TechnologyTianjin UniversityTianjin ShiChina
  7. 7.Department of Chemistry, SBA School of Science & Engineering (SBASSE)Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)LahorePakistan
  8. 8.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  9. 9.Solid State Functional Materials Research Laboratory, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE)Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)NingboChina

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