Microchimica Acta

, 186:803 | Cite as

Sub-10-nm multicolored gold nanoparticles for colorimetric determination of antibiotics via formation of interlocking rings

  • Yumin LengEmail author
  • Yu Fu
  • Zhiwen Lu
  • Zhipei Sang
  • Kecheng Liu
  • Chenxi Du
  • Linfeng Ma
Original Paper


A general approach is presented for synthesis of multicolored gold nanoparticles (GNPs) by Au(I)-mediated generation of interlocking rings in proteins and antibiotics. The Au(I) ions are shuttled from proteins to antibiotics, and this causes the formation of interlocking rings. The multicolored GNPs of different sizes were synthesized in the rings by using the rapid nucleation method. To take the unique colors of GNPs, a functional array was designed for the colorimetric determination and discrimination of antibiotics, specifically of amoxicillin, chlortetracycline, erythromycin, spiramycin, neomycin, thiamphenicol, gentamycin and lincomycin. The method is based on the “three color” (RGB) principle. The color response patterns are characteristic for each antibiotic and can be quantitatively differentiated by statistical techniques. The limits of detection (LOD, at S/N = 3) for spiramycin (Sp) have been calculated to be 0.18 μM and 0.10 μM in water and milk, respectively. The good linear range (from 0.3 to 3.5 μM) has been used for the quantitative assay of Sp in a certified reference material.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) synthesis via formation of interlocking rings in protein and antibiotics. The Au(I) ions mediate protein and antibiotics to be interlocking rings, which are quickly fixed via microwave reaction. The GNPs are synthesized and assembled in the rings.


Gold nanoparticle synthesis Rapid nucleation Array Three color principle Colorimetric analysis Antibiotics discrimination Spiramycin Shuttle 



This work is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (21607083), Technicians Troop Construction Projects of Henan Province (No. C20150029), Natural Science Foundation of Henan (162300410206), and Scientific and Technological Project of Henan Province (162102310484).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

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

Supplementary material

604_2019_3949_MOESM1_ESM.doc (3.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 3138 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Physics and Electronic EngineeringNanyang Normal UniversityNanyangChina
  2. 2.College of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical EngineeringNanyang Normal UniversityNanyangChina

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