This work designs an enzyme-stimulated nanogel aggregation system for the naked-eye assays of α-amylase activity. The visible aggregation of the starch-stabilized CdTe nanogels may be accelerated by α-amylase through its efficient cleavage of glycosidic bonds in the starch network, which has been verified by the evidences from transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering spectra. The required aggregation time, as validated by both the theoretical deduction and the experimental results, is inversely proportional to the enzymatic activity. Therefore a facile method has been proposed for the detection of enzyme activity, with an excellent linear range and a low detection limit. This nanogel-based protocol can be successfully applied in the fast and accurate assays of α-amylase activity in saliva samples with a satisfactory correlation with the standard protocol, suggesting its promising applications in the biomedical and clinical fields, especially in point-of-care testing.
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