Assay of 1-hydroxypyrene via aggregation-induced quenching of the fluorescence of protamine-modified gold nanoclusters and 9-hydroxyphenanthrene-based sensitization


This work describes a method for the determination of 1-hydroxypyrene (OH-Py) via aggregation-induced quenching of the emission of protamine-coated gold nanoclusters using 9-hydroxyphenanthrene (OH-Phe) as a sensitizer to boost the emission efficiency of nanoprobe. Under optimum conditions, the drop in fluorescence intensity at excitation/emission wavelengths of 300/596 nm is proportional to the concentrations of OH-Py in the range from 1.0 to 65 nM. The relative standard deviations are 4.2, 2.4 and 1.9% (for n = 11) at concentration levels of 8.0, 32 and 48 nM of OH-Py, respectively. The detection limit is 0.3 nM which is much lower than that of some previously reported methods. The recoveries from urine samples spiked with OH-Py ranged between 94.4 and 98.8%.

1-Hydroxypyrene (OH-Py) can trigger the aggregation of protamine-gold nanoclusters (PRT-AuNCs), resulting in the emission quenching of PRT-AuNCs. 9-Hydroxyphenanthrene (OH-Phe) can boost the emission efficiency of nanoprobe. Thereby, a highly sensitive assay of OH-Py was established.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21177052, 11405081), the Science and Technology Program of Hunan Province in China (2010SK3039), the Key R&D Program of Hunan Province (2018SK2029), the Fund of Hengyang Key Laboratory (No. 2018KJ110), and Research Study and Innovation Experiment Program for University Students (No.477).

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Correspondence to Yong-Sheng Wang or Le Li.

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The studies were approved by the Ethical Commission of the University of South China and were performed in accordance with ethical standards.

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Jin-Hua Xue and Ling Liu are the Co-first authors.

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Xue, JH., Liu, L., Wang, YS. et al. Assay of 1-hydroxypyrene via aggregation-induced quenching of the fluorescence of protamine-modified gold nanoclusters and 9-hydroxyphenanthrene-based sensitization. Microchim Acta 186, 700 (2019).

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  • Nanoprobe
  • Photoluminescence quenching
  • High quantum efficiency
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Hydrogen bonding
  • Hydrophobic interaction
  • Resonance energy transfer
  • Human urine samples