A network composed of gold nanoparticles and a poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel for colorimetric determination of ceftriaxone


A hydrogel network was prepared from poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and borax, and then was modified with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that were obtained by in-situ nucleation and growth. This modified network is shown to be a viable optical nanoprobe for the drug ceftriaxone (CTRX) in biological samples. The properties and morphology of the modified network were investigated using energy dispersive X-ray analysis, transmission electron microscopy, zeta-sizing and viscosimetry. The UV-vis spectrum was recorded to verify the nanosynthesis of the red AuNPs, and the maximum absorption is found at 517 nm. This AuNP-poly(vinyl alcohol)-borax hydrogel nanoprobe (AuNP/PBH) is introduced as an optical nanoprobe for ceftriaxone in biological samples. The AuNPs have a better ability to attach the sulfur functional groups than amino functional groups. Hence, the probable mechanism is based on the attachment of sulfur functional groups of CRTX structure with AuNPs located in the PBH. As a result of this interaction, the surface plasmon resonance of AuNPs is altered in the presence of CTRX and the absorption of the nanoprobe is decreased at 517 nm. The effects of pH value, borax and PVA concentration were investigated. Under optimum conditions, the calibration graph is linear in the 1–90 μg mL−1 CTRX concentration range, and the limit of detection is 0.33 μg mL−1. The relative standard deviation for ten replicate measurements of at levels of 20 and 70 μg mL−1 of CTRX was 4.0% and 2.2%, respectively. The nanoprobe was successfully applied to the determination of CTRX in (spiked) serum and urine samples. The performance of the nanoprobe was compared with HPLC method and the results were satisfactory.

Schematic representation of a new nanoprobe based on in situ formation of AuNPs into poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)-borax (PBH) hydrogel fabricated for ceftriaxone detection. The hydrogel acts as the reducing agent for production and embedding of AuNPs in the network.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Scheme 1
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


  1. 1.

    Muhammad J, Khan S, Su JQ, Hesham AE-L, Ditta A, Nawab J, Ali A (2019) Antibiotics in poultry manure and their associated health issues: a systematic review. J Soils Sediments 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-019-02360-0

  2. 2.

    Saxena SK, Rangasamy R, Krishnan AA, Singh DP, Uke SP, Malekadi PK, Sengar AS, Mohamed DP, Gupta A (2018) Simultaneous determination of multi-residue and multi-class antibiotics in aquaculture shrimps by UPLC-MS/MS. Food Chem 260:336–343

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Schulz J, Kemper N, Hartung J, Janusch F, Mohring SA, Hamscher G (2019) Analysis of fluoroquinolones in dusts from intensive livestock farming and the co-occurrence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli. Sci Rep 9:5117

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Semreen MH, Shanableh A, Semerjian L, Alniss H, Mousa M, Bai X, Acharya K (2019) Simultaneous determination of pharmaceuticals by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry: a case study from Sharjah sewage treatment plant. Molecules 24(3):633

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Levy SB, Marshall B (2004) Antibacterial resistance worldwide: causes, challenges and responses. Nat Med 10(12s):S122

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Yang Y, Song W, Lin H, Wang W, Du L, Xing W (2018) Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in global lakes: a review and meta-analysis. Environ Int 116:60–73

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Zhang M, Huang X, Yahui W, Shi C, Pei P, Yang J, Dong Q, Cui X (2019) A rapid and simple UPLC method for serum vancomycin determination in pediatric patients undergoing continuous infusion or intermittent infusion of vancomycin. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis 174:214–219

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Odewunmi NA, Kawde A-N, Ibrahim M (2019) In-situ single-step electrochemical AgO modified graphite pencil electrode for trace determination of DL-methionine in human serum sample. Sensors Actuators B Chem 281:765–773

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Dehghani M, Nasirizadeh N, Yazdanshenas ME (2019) Determination of cefixime using a novel electrochemical sensor produced with gold nanowires/graphene oxide/electropolymerized molecular imprinted polymer. Mater Sci Eng C 96:654–660

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Sleegers N, van Nuijs AL, van den Berg M, De Wael K (2019) Cephalosporin antibiotics: electrochemical fingerprints and core structure reactions investigated by LC–MS/MS. Anal Chem 91(3):2035–2041

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    da Trindade MT, Salgado HRN (2018) A critical review of analytical methods for determination of ceftriaxone sodium. Crit Rev Anal Chem 48(2):95–101

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Shahrouei F, Elhami S, Tahanpesar E (2018) Highly sensitive detection of ceftriaxone in water, food, pharmaceutical and biological samples based on gold nanoparticles in aqueous and micellar media. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 203:287–293

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Samadi N, Narimani S (2016) An ultrasensitive and selective method for the determination of ceftriaxone using cysteine capped cadmium sulfide fluorescence quenched quantum dots as fluorescence probes. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 163:8–12

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Saleh GA, El-Shaboury SR, Mohamed FA, Rageh AH (2009) Kinetic spectrophotometric determination of certain cephalosporins using oxidized quercetin reagent. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 73(5):946–954

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Qiao M, Jiang J, Yang J, Liu S, Liu Z, Hu X (2016) A sensitive “turn-on” fluorescent assay for quantification of ceftriaxone based on l-tryptophan-Pd (II) complex fluorophore. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 161:95–100

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Al-Momani I (2001) Spectrophotometric determination of selected cephalosporins in drug formulations using flow injection analysis. J Pharm Biomed Anal 25(5–6):751–757

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Hamidi M, Azadi A, Rafiei P (2008) Hydrogel nanoparticles in drug delivery. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 60(15):1638–1649

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Roy S, Banerjee A (2012) Functionalized single walled carbon nanotube containing amino acid based hydrogel: a hybrid nanomaterial. RSC Adv 2(5):2105–2111

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Han J, Lei T, Wu Q (2014) High-water-content mouldable polyvinyl alcohol-borax hydrogels reinforced by well-dispersed cellulose nanoparticles: dynamic rheological properties and hydrogel formation mechanism. Carbohydr Polym 102:306–316

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Amin S, Rajabnezhad S, Kohli K (2009) Hydrogels as potential drug delivery systems. Sci Res Essays 4(11):1175–1183

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Kandile NG, Nasr AS (2011) Hydrogels based on a three component system with potential for leaching metals. Carbohydr Polym 85(1):120–128

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Bahram M, Hoseinzadeh F, Farhadi K, Saadat M, Najafi-Moghaddam P, Afkhami A (2014) Synthesis of gold nanoparticles using pH-sensitive hydrogel and its application for colorimetric determination of acetaminophen, ascorbic acid and folic acid. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 441:517–524

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Zhao Y, Liu B, Pan L, Yu G (2013) 3D nanostructured conductive polymer hydrogels for high-performance electrochemical devices. Energy Environ Sci 6(10):2856–2870

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Wang J, Wang Z, Gao J, Wang L, Yang Z, Kong D, Yang Z (2009) Incorporation of supramolecular hydrogels into agarose hydrogels—a potential drug delivery carrier. J Mater Chem 19(42):7892–7896

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Gao W, Vecchio D, Li J, Zhu J, Zhang Q, Fu V, Li J, Thamphiwatana S, Lu D, Zhang L (2014) Hydrogel containing nanoparticle-stabilized liposomes for topical antimicrobial delivery. ACS Nano 8(3):2900–2907

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Wang M, Cui M, Liu W, Liu X (2019) Highly dispersed conductive polypyrrole hydrogels as sensitive sensor for simultaneous determination of ascorbic acid, dopamine and uric acid. J Electroanal Chem 832:174–181

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Nam J, Jung I-B, Kim B, Lee S-M, Kim S-E, Lee K-N, Shin D-S (2018) A colorimetric hydrogel biosensor for rapid detection of nitrite ions. Sensors Actuators B Chem 270:112–118

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Pourreza N, Ghomi M (2017) A novel metal enhanced fluorescence bio probe for insulin sensing based on poly vinyl alcohol-borax hydrogel functionalized by Ag dots. Sensors Actuators B Chem 251:609–616

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Pourreza N, Ghomi M (2018) In situ synthesized and embedded silver nanoclusters into poly vinyl alcohol-borax hydrogel as a novel dual mode “on and off” fluorescence sensor for Fe (III) and thiosulfate. Talanta 179:92–99

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Suarasan S, Focsan M, Maniu D, Astilean S (2013) Gelatin–nanogold bioconjugates as effective plasmonic platforms for SERS detection and tagging. Colloids Surf B: Biointerfaces 103:475–481

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Inamdar S, Pushpavanam K, Lentz JM, Bues M, Anand A, Rege K (2018) Hydrogel nanosensors for colorimetric detection and Dosimetry in proton beam radiotherapy. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 10(4):3274–3281

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Jeevika A, Shankaran DR (2016) Functionalized silver nanoparticles probe for visual colorimetric sensing of mercury. Mater Res Bull 83:48–55

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Zhang J, Mou L, Jiang X (2018) Hydrogels incorporating au@ polydopamine nanoparticles: robust performance for optical sensing. Anal Chem 90(19):11423–11430

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Muthivhi R, Parani S, May B, Oluwafemi OS (2018) Green synthesis of gelatin-noble metal polymer nanocomposites for sensing of Hg2+ ions in aqueous media. Nano-Structures & Nano-Objects 13:132–138

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Khan MSJ, Khan SB, Kamal T, Asiri AM (2019) Agarose biopolymer coating on polyurethane sponge as host for catalytic silver metal nanoparticles. Polym Test 78:105983

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Faoucher E, Nativo P, Black K, Claridge JB, Gass M, Romani S, Bleloch AL, Brust M (2009) In situ preparation of network forming gold nanoparticles in agarose hydrogels. Chem Commun 43:6661–6663

    Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Pulit J, Banach M (2013) Preparation of nanocrystalline silver using gelatin and glucose as stabilizing and reducing agents, respectively. Digest Journal of Nanomaterials & Biostructures (DJNB) 8(2):787–795

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Goldring JD (2019) Concentrating proteins by salt, polyethylene glycol, solvent, SDS precipitation, three-phase partitioning, dialysis, centrifugation, ultrafiltration, lyophilization, affinity chromatography, immunoprecipitation or increased temperature for protein isolation, drug interaction, and proteomic and peptidomic evaluation. Electrophoretic separation of proteins. Springer, pp 41-59

  39. 39.

    Dong BH, Hinestroza JP (2009) Metal nanoparticles on natural cellulose fibers: electrostatic assembly and in situ synthesis. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 1(4):797–803

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Chairam S, Poolperm C, Somsook E (2009) Starch vermicelli template-assisted synthesis of size/shape-controlled nanoparticles. Carbohydr Polym 75(4):694–704

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Loughlin RG, Tunney MM, Donnelly RF, Murphy DJ, Jenkins M, McCarron PA (2008) Modulation of gel formation and drug-release characteristics of lidocaine-loaded poly (vinyl alcohol)-tetraborate hydrogel systems using scavenger polyol sugars. Eur J Pharm Biopharm 69(3):1135–1146

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Aryal S, Remant B, Dharmaraj N, Bhattarai N, Kim CH, Kim HY (2006) Spectroscopic identification of SAu interaction in cysteine capped gold nanoparticles. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 63(1):160–163

    Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Zhai S, Fang C, Yan J, Zhao Q, Tu Y (2017) A label-free genetic biosensor for diabetes based on AuNPs decorated ITO with electrochemiluminescent signaling. Anal Chim Acta 982:62–71

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Qin L, Zeng G, Lai C, Huang D, Zhang C, Xu P, Hu T, Liu X, Cheng M, Liu Y (2017) A visual application of gold nanoparticles: simple, reliable and sensitive detection of kanamycin based on hydrogen-bonding recognition. Sensors Actuators B Chem 243:946–954

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Jain U, Chauhan N (2017) Glycated hemoglobin detection with electrochemical sensing amplified by gold nanoparticles embedded N-doped graphene nanosheet. Biosens Bioelectron 89:578–584

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Frasco M, Truta L, Sales M, Moreira F (2017) Imprinting technology in electrochemical biomimetic sensors. Sensors 17(3):523

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors wish to thank Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz Research Council for the financial support of this work (grant 1396). The financial support of the Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative Council is also appreciated. The authors are sincerely grateful to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of Khuzestan Province (Iran) for kindly providing research facilities for this work.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nahid Pourreza.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material


(DOCX 284 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pourreza, N., Ghomi, M. A network composed of gold nanoparticles and a poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel for colorimetric determination of ceftriaxone. Microchim Acta 187, 133 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-019-4039-8

Download citation


  • AuNPs
  • Nanoprobe
  • Hydrogel
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Poly(vinyl alcohol)
  • Colorimetry
  • Borax