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Issue 16, 2011
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Detection of mercury and phenylmercury ions using DNA-based fluorescent probe

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Abstract

A DNA probe labeled with a 4-([4-(dimethylamino)phenyl]azo)benzoic acid (DABCYL) quencher and a carboxyfluorescein (FAM) donor at its 5′- and 3′-termini can be used for the detection of Hg2+ ions and phenylmercury ions (PhHg+). This DNA probe possesses a random coil structure that changes into a hairpin-like structure upon binding Hg2+ and PhHg+ ions. As a result, the fluorescence of the FAM unit decreased through quenching between the donor and the quencher. In the presence of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), the DNA probe allowed the selective detection of PhHg+ ions at concentrations as low as 70.0 nM, mainly as a result of T–Hg2+–T coordination and π–π stacking between the Ph unit and DNA bases. A linear correlation existed between the fluorescence intensity and the concentration of PhHg+ ions over the range from 0.10 to 1.0 μM (R2 = 0.99). After acid hydrolysis and neutralization of the samples, all of the mercury species are converted to Hg2+ ions, allowing us to use the DNA-based probe to determine the concentrations of total mercury species at the nM level. The practicality of this probe has been validated by the analyses of pond water and fish samples, showing its advantages of sensitivity, selectivity, and simplicity.

Graphical abstract: Detection of mercury and phenylmercury ions using DNA-based fluorescent probe

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Feb 2011, accepted on 28 May 2011 and first published on 08 Jul 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1AN15117G
Citation: Analyst, 2011,136, 3323-3328
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    Detection of mercury and phenylmercury ions using DNA-based fluorescent probe

    Y. Lin and H. Chang, Analyst, 2011, 136, 3323
    DOI: 10.1039/C1AN15117G

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