Triggered peroxidase-like activity of Au decorated carbon dots for colorimetric monitoring of Hg2+ enrichment in Chlorella vulgaris†
Developing a rapid, low-cost, and multimode detection method for heavy metal ions remains a compelling goal for many applications, including food safety, environmental and biological analysis. This study investigated the influence of Hg2+ on the peroxidase-like activity of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) decorated on carbon dots (CDs) from lysine (denoted as GNP@CDs). A new type of Hg2+-triggered peroxidase-like activity of GNP@CDs was discovered, which could catalyze the oxidation of the colorless 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) into blue TMB. Based on the regulation of the catalytically triggered activity, a sensitive colorimetric method for the detection of Hg2+ was developed, with a linear range of 7–150 nM, providing a limit of detection as low as 3.7 nM. The sensor is simple and rapid, and was successfully applied to the detection of Hg2+ enrichment in chlorella, suggesting a promising application in biological analysis.