Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 752–760 | Cite as

Development of an Upconversion Luminescence Nanoparticles–Based Immunochromatographic Assay for the Rapid Detection of Dexamethasone in Animal Tissue

  • Shiwei ZhangEmail author
  • Tianqi Yao
  • Shifeng Wang
  • Ronghu Feng
  • Liqiong ChenEmail author
  • Vivian Zhu
  • Guiping Hu
  • Heng Zhang
  • Guowu Yang


Dexamethasone has been illegally used as a growth-promoting agent to obtain an economic benefit from increased muscle development. An immunochromatographic assay was developed for the quantitative detection of dexamethasone using a probe based on upconversion luminescence nanoparticles. Lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles were synthesized in a system comprising water and ethylene glycol. Various parameters, including the immunoreaction time, the structure of the coating hapten, and the type and concentration of surfactant, were optimized. Based on the optimal conditions, the assay exhibits good dynamic linear detection in the range of 0.05–5 ng/mL with an IC50 of 0.58 ng/mL. The detection limits for dexamethasone in tissue are 0.3 μg/kg. The assay worked well using a 30% methanol extraction solution, giving an average recovery of 84.5%. The assay strip can quantitate on-site using a portable upconversion luminescence reader with a cumulative analysis time of only 10 min, and its fluorescence decay after 6 months is < 25%.


Upconversion luminescence nanoparticles Dexamethasone Immunochromatography Quantitative 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


The work was financially supported by the Shenzhen science and technology bureau basic research project (JCYJ20170817162119873) and the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine research project of China (2017QK095).

Conflict of Interest

Shiwei Zhang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Tianqi Yao declares that he has no conflict of interest. Shifeng Wang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Ronghu Feng declares that he has no conflict of interest. Liqiong Chen declares that he has no conflict of interest. Vivian Zhu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Guiping Hu declares that he has no conflict of interest. Heng Zhang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Guowu Yang declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human subjects. All animal experiments that described in the present study were performed in adherence to Shenzhen Academy of Metrology and Quality Inspection animal experiment center guidelines and approved by Animal Ethics Committee.

Informed Consent

A statement regarding informed consent is not applicable.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shenzhen Academy of Metrology and Quality InspectionNational Nutrition Food Testing CenterShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shenzhen Technology UniversityShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Shenzhen Mingde Experimental SchoolShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China

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