Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 11, pp 8627–8639 | Cite as

Biomass-codoped carbon dots: efficient fluorescent probes for isocarbophos ultrasensitive detection and for living cells dual-color imaging

  • Yuefang HuEmail author
  • Zhenming Chen
  • Feiyan Lai
  • Jinfang Li
Materials for life sciences


Biomass quantum dots, which are green, cheap and easy to prepare, are promising fluorescence probes. In this study, we prepared biomass nitrogen-codoped carbon dots (B-NCdots) through pyrolysis, using natural soybean as the starting material and introduced the B-NCdots as green fluorescent probes for the ultrasensitive detection of organophosphorus pesticides (OPs). The B-NCdots obtained emitted blue fluorescence, which was quenched by Cu(II) ions. Combining this with an acetylcholinesterase-based cascading enzymatic reaction that produces thiocholine, which can able to cause a reaction with the Cu(II) ions and restore fluorescence. However, OPs can inhibit both the activity of acetylcholinesterase and the recovery of fluorescence. Therefore, a fluorescence “off–on–off” method based on the B-NCdots probes was developed to detect isocarbophos (ICP). A wider linear detection range was achieved from 1.0 × 10−9 to 1.0 × 10−4 M (Limit of Detection = 3.0 × 10−10). The method developed was successfully applied to the detection of ICP in broccoli samples. The average recoveries were in the range of 94.0–103.0% with a relative standard deviation of less than 3.4%. More importantly, the B-NCdots–Cu(II) ion fluorescent probes were also used successfully in dual-color imaging of living cells, indicating that the green fluorescent probes have potential applications in agricultural and biomedical fields.



This work is financially supported by Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi Province (Grant No. 2017GXNSFAA198274).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_3494_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 611 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical SciencesGuangxi Normal UniversityGuilinChina
  2. 2.College of Materials and Chemical EngineeringHezhou UniversityHezhouChina

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