, Volume 26, Issue 17, pp 9149–9161 | Cite as

Tuneable design of a pulp fibre-based colorimetric sensor and its visual recognition mechanism for ppb levels of Ag+

  • Hongxiang Zhu
  • Wei Guo
  • Jian Wang
  • Hui HeEmail author
  • Xudong Hou
  • Shile Zhou
  • Shuangfei Wang
Original Research


A novel biomass pulp fibre (PF)-based colorimetric sensor was prepared by grafting l-lysine (l-lys) onto the surface of PFs via a Schiff base reaction. The grafted l-lys contained two specific synergistic recognition groups (–COOH and –NH2), which only recognize Ag+. The as-prepared sensor (DAPF-l-lys) showed excellent selective recognition of Ag+ and an obvious visual colour change from light-yellow to brown in aqueous solutions containing other ions (Cu2+, Pb2+, Mn2+, Mg2+, Cd2+, Ca2+, H2O, Al3+, Hg2+, Cr6+, K+, Na+ and Zn2+). The visual limit of detection for Ag+ was 10–7 mol/L. Furthermore, DAPF-l-lys responded to Ag+ within 30 s based on the dynamic conditions of the detection method. The biomass PF matrix possessed the excellent properties, including a large external surface area, a short transit distance and good flexibility. When specific synergistic recognition groups were grafted onto the PF of the prepared PF-based colorimetric sensor, Ag+ could be rapidly absorbed and enriched on the surface of DAPF-l-lys through only bi-dentate ligand chelation between Ag+ and the synergistic recognition groups (–COOH and –NH2) of DAPF-l-lys. Thus, the DAPF-l-lys colorimetric sensor exhibited promising prospects for on-site identification of Ag+ (the level of ppb) due to its high selectivity and sensitivity.

Graphic abstract


Colorimetric sensor Pulp fibre On-site detection ppb level Recognition mechanism 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD0800700), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31860193), Guangxi Science and Technology Research Program (14251009), Guangxi Youth Natural Science Fund (2018GXNSFBA281174), Director Fund Project of Guangxi Key Laboratory of Clean Pulp & Papermaking and Pollution Control (ZR201701), Guangxi Science and Technology Research Program (AA17202032) and Guangxi University Young Doctor Research Foundation Project (XBZ180057).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2713_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.1 mb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 4101 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongxiang Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hui He
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xudong Hou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shile Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shuangfei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Light Industry and Food EngineeringGuangxi UniversityNanningPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Guangxi Key Laboratory of Clean Pulp and Papermaking and Pollution ControlNanningPeople’s Republic of China

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