Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 25, pp 6489–6495 | Cite as

Spectrofluorometric determination of berberine using a novel Au nanocluster with large Stokes shift

  • Aoli Wen
  • Xiaoxiao Peng
  • Pingping Zhang
  • Yunfei LongEmail author
  • Huiming Gong
  • Qingru Xie
  • Ming Yue
  • Shu ChenEmail author
Research Paper


Berberine hydrochloride (BHC), a natural isoquinoline alkaloid, is widely applied as a an agent in traditional Chinese medicine. Almost all the traditional methods for BHC detection require complicated preprocessing steps or expensive instruments. In this article, we report a simple, rapid, sensitive, and selective method for BHC detection using fluorescent gold nanoclusters (F-AuNCs) as the fluorescent probe with a large Stokes shift of 237 nm. The F-AuNCs prepared with citrate-stabilized stannous chloride and hydrogen tetrachloroaurate(III) as raw materials in an aqueous medium display strong and stable fluorescence at 566 nm. When F-AuNCs are mixed with BHC, the fluorescence of F-AuNCs is effectively quenched. Under optimized conditions, this method allows sensitive and selective measurements of BHC in a concentration ranging from 1.0 × 10-6 to 1.0 × 10-4 mol L-1 with a detection limit of 7.5 × 10-8 mol L-1, which is relatively low among reported spectral methods. This method provides excellent selectivity for the detection of BHC against inorganic anions and natural amino acids. In addition, the BHC content in two different types of berberine tablets was successfully determined by this method and the results showed high accuracy.

Graphical Abstract


Berberine hydrochloride Gold nanoclusters Fluorescent Stokes shift 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos 51502088, 21275047, 21445008), the Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (nos 2016JJ3058, 2016JJ5005), the Research Foundation of Education Department of Hunan Province (no. 17B091), the Graduate Innovation Project of the Hunan University of Science and Technology (CX2017B619), and the Foundation of Science and Technology on Transient Impact Laboratory (No. 614260601010317).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1246_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (225 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 224 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aoli Wen
    • 1
  • Xiaoxiao Peng
    • 1
  • Pingping Zhang
    • 1
  • Yunfei Long
    • 1
    Email author
  • Huiming Gong
    • 1
  • Qingru Xie
    • 1
  • Ming Yue
    • 1
  • Shu Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Theoretical Organic Chemistry and Function Molecule of Ministry of Education, Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Controllable Preparation and Functional Application of Fine Polymers, Hunan Provincial Key Lab of Advanced Materials for New Energy Storage and Conversion, School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringHunan University of Science and TechnologyXiangtanChina

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