A team of researchers led by Professor Jiang Changlong of the Institute of Solid State Physics (ISSP), Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has developed a new sensor system for the detection of carbaryl residues. The search results are published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.
Carbaryl is a widely used insecticide that can easily enter the body through respiratory ingestion and dermal contact, resulting in serious health risks, including carcinogenicity and reproductive abnormalities. Therefore, it is critical to detect carbaryl residues in environmental and food samples. However, current detection techniques such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and electrochemical analysis are time-consuming and require complex pre-processing, making them impractical for field testing.
To address this issue, HFIPS researchers developed a dual-ratio fluorescent probe based on a mixture of silicon quantum dots (Si QDs), gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and cadmium telluride quantum dots (CdTe QDs). This sensing center was capable of optical quantitative detection of carbaryl with high sensitivity and immediate feedback. Upon addition of carbaryl, the dispersion of the AuNPs changed, resulting in a change in the color of the solution that could be observed with the naked eye.
In addition, the fluorescence emission intensity of Si QDs increased while that of CdTe QDs decreased due to the effect of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). The sensing system showed a dual response signal that resulted in a significant red-to-blue fluorescence color transition under UV light. The limit of detection (LOD) was as low as 16.3 nm, which was well below the limit of the residue standard.
Then the researchers designed a portable smart sensing platform using 3D printing and color recognition technology, which can successfully apply the sensing system to detect carbaryl in actual samples with good selectivity and anti-interference ability.
This study not only provided an advanced sensing strategy for sensitivity and rapid detection of carbaryl in the field, but also provided new insights into the quantitative analysis of other tracer analyses.
Overall, the new sensor system has the potential to make a significant contribution to environmental pollutant monitoring and agro-food safety.
Zhong Zhang et al, Ultra-sensitive and on-site detection of carbaryl pesticides by dual-mode nanosensors using mobile devices, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2023). DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c06499
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