Microchimica Acta

, 186:290 | Cite as

A fluorometric assay for oxytetracycline based on the use of its europium(III) complex and aptamer-modified silver nanoparticles

  • Masoomeh Esmaelpourfarkhani
  • Khalil AbnousEmail author
  • Seyed Mohammad TaghdisiEmail author
  • Mahmoud ChamsazEmail author
Original Paper


An ultrasensitive assay is described for the determination of oxytetracycline (OTC) at nanomolar levels. The method is using silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) that were first modified with OTC-binding aptamer and then exposed to the OTC-Eu(III) complex. The pink fluorescence of the OTC-Eu(III) complex on the AgNPs is almost completely quenched. On addition of OTC, it will compete with the OTC-Eu(III) complex for binding to the aptamer on the AgNPs. The OTC-Eu(III) complex is released and becomes strongly fluorescent, with excitation/emission peaks at 385/620 nm. The resulting assay was validated in terms of linearity and linear range, sensitivity, selectivity, detection limit and accuracy. Under optimum conditions, response is linear in the 10 to 500 nM OTC concentration range, and the limit of detection is 1.9 nM. The method was applied to the determination of OTC in spiked milk and tablets samples, and it gave satisfactory results.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the assay. In the presence of oxytetracycline (OTC), it will compete with the OTC-europium(III) complex for binding to the silver nanoparticles (AgNPs)-aptamer conjugate. The OTC-Eu(III) complex is released and strong pink fluorescence is observed.


Antibiotic OTC-Eu3+ complex Recovery assay Fluorescence quenching method Triton X-100 Milk analysis 



Financial support of this study was provided by the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (grant number: 951099) and the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (grant number: 3/42232).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3389_MOESM1_ESM.doc (326 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 325 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of SciencesFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran
  2. 2.Pharmaceutical Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology InstituteMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  3. 3.Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of PharmacyMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  4. 4.Targeted Drug Delivery Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology InstituteMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  5. 5.Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of PharmacyMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran

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