Microchimica Acta

, 186:271 | Cite as

Copper(II) ions enhance the peroxidase-like activity and stability of keratin-capped gold nanoclusters for the colorimetric detection of glucose

  • Shuyi Ma
  • Jinjie WangEmail author
  • Guang Yang
  • Jingxia Yang
  • Derun Ding
  • Min ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


A method is described for the preparation of copper(II)-modified keratin-capped gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) with adjustable Au/Cu molar ratio through a two-step synthetic route. The introduction of Cu(II) is known to cause quenching of the fluorescence of such AuNCs. It is found, however, that the Cu(II) loaded AuNC (AuNC-Cu2+) display strongly enhanced peroxidase-like activity and improved chemical stability. This is assumed to be due to the synergistic effect of the gold and copper atoms and in contrast to the single components (pure AuNCs and copper ions). The kinetic parameters of the new peroxidase mimic show a higher Kcat value (12.1 × 10−4 s−1) and a lower Km value (53 μM) for H2O2 (compared to those of conventional AuNCs). The catalytic activity is stable and remains essentially unchanged after two months. The interactions of AuNCs with Cu(II) were characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy, UV-vis spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Based on these findings, a glucose colorimetric assay at 452 nm was developed that has a detection range from 1.6 to 800 μM and a 0.26 μM detection limit.

Graphical abstract

Copper ion-modified keratin-capped gold nanoclusters (AuNC-Cu2+) exhibit enhanced peroxidase-like activity owing to the synergistic effect of the gold and copper atoms which is in contrast to pure AuNCs.


Copper ion modification Synergistic activity Enzyme mimic Catalyst Glucose assay 



This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 21806103 and 21601121).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3395_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1.87 mb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringShanghai University of Engineering ScienceShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and BiotechnologyDonghua UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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