A Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Biosensor Based on Zinc Oxide (ZnO) and Porphyrin for the Detection of Trimethylamine in Aquatic Products

  • Xue GaoEmail author
  • Yutong Liu
  • Yu Wang
  • Qiang Zhang
  • Xiuying Liu
  • Yiwei Tang
  • Jiangrong LiEmail author


Hierarchical zinc oxide (ZnO) nanomaterials have been successfully synthesized using a biotemplated method. The morphology and structure of the produced samples were characterized by means of SEM, TEM, XRD, FTIR, etc. The result showed that hierarchical ZnO nanomaterial retained the porous network structure of the template. Trimethylamine (TMA) in aquatic products was effectively detected by a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)–based molecular sensor using ZnO as energy donors and tetrasodium-meso-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl) porphine dodecahydrate (TPPS) as energy acceptors. The FRET efficiency was reduced by the addition of TMA, due to the combination between TPPS and TMA. The fluorescence intensity of ZnO (donor) would decrease gradually with the increasing concentration of TMA. Under the optimal conditions, a linear correlation was established between the fluorescence intensity ratio ITPPS/IZnO and the concentration of TMA in the range of 2.67 × 10−11–6.67 × 10−6 mol/L and 1.33 × 10−5–6.67 × 10−4 mol/L with a detection limit of 7.51 × 10−12 mol/L. The proposed method was successfully applied to the determination of TMA in real fish samples with satisfactory results.


Biotemplated method Hierarchical ZnO nanomaterial Porphyrins FRET Trimethylamine 



This study was funded by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 31501564), the Research Project from Science & Technology Department of Liaoning Province of China (no. 2015103020), the Team Support Program for the Taishan Scholar of Blue Industry Leading Personnel of Shandong Province of China (LZBZ2015-19), and Open Foundation of Food Safety Key Laboratory of Liaoning Province (LNSAKF2013012).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Gao Xue declares that she has no conflict of interest. Liu Yutong declares that she has no conflict of interest. Wang Yu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Zhang Qiang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Liu Xiuying declares that she has no conflict of interest. Tang Yiwei declares that he has no conflict of interest. Li Jiangrong declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

In case humans are involved, informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. If not applicable to the study, informed consent was not applicable.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

12161_2019_1488_MOESM1_ESM.doc (714 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 713 kb)


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Food Science and TechnologyBohai UniversityJinzhouChina
  2. 2.National & Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Storage, Processing and Safety Control Technology for Fresh Agricultural and Aquatic ProductsJinzhouChina
  3. 3.Food Safety Key Lab of Liaoning ProvinceJinzhouChina
  4. 4.The Fresh Food Storage and Processing Technology Research Institute of Liaoning Provincial UniversitiesJinzhouChina
  5. 5.College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringBohai UniversityJinzhouChina
  6. 6.Department of College Foundation EducationBohai UniversityJinzhouChina

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