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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 May;394(1):33-46. doi: 10.1007/s00216-008-2594-7. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Bio-inspired colorimetric detection of Hg2+ and Pb2+ heavy metal ions using Au nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, 101 Chemistry-Physics Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0055, USA.


Heavy metal ions are highly toxic species which can cause long-term damage to biological systems. These species are known to disrupt biological events at the cellular level, cause significant oxidative damage, and are carcinogens. The production of simple, in-field detection methods that are highly sensitive for these cations is highly desirable in response to global pollution. In that regard, bio-inspired colorimetric sensing systems have been developed to detect Hg(2+) and Pb(2+), and other cations, down to nmol L(-1) concentrations. The benefits of these systems, which are reviewed herein, include cost-effective production, facile usage, and a visual color change for the detection method. Such advantages are significant positive steps for heavy metal ion detection, especially in regions where sophisticated laboratory studies are prohibited.

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