Materials Science and Engineering C
Bioimaging, Carbon dots, Co 2+, EDTA, Metabolism, Zebrafish
Fluorescent carbon dots (CDs) were hydrothermally synthesized from a mixture of frozen tofu, ethylenediamine and phosphoric acid in an efficient 64% yield. The resulting CDs exhibit good water solubility, low cytotoxicity, high stability, and excellent biocompatibility. The CDs selectively and sensitively detect Co2+ through fluorescent quenching with a detection limit of 58 nM. Fluorescence can be restored through the introduction of EDTA, and this phenomenon can be used to quantify EDTA in solution with a detection limit of 98 nM. As both analytes are detected by the same CD platform, this is an “off-on” fluorescence sensor for Co2+ and EDTA. The technique's robustness for real-world samples was illustrated by quantifying cobalt in tap water and EDTA in contact lens solution. The CDs were also evaluated for in vivo imaging as they show low cytotoxicity and excellent cellular uptake. In a zebrafish model, the CDs are rapidly adsorbed from the intestine into the liver, and are essentially cleared from the body in 24 h with no appreciable bioaccumulation. Their simple and efficient synthesis, combined with excellent physical and chemical performance, renders these CDs attractive candidates for theranostic applications in targeted “smart” drug delivery and bioimaging.
Wen, Xiangping; Wen, Guangming; Li, Wenyan; Zhao, Zhonghua; Duan, Xine; Yan, Wenjun; Trant, John F.; and Li, Yingqi. (2021). Carbon dots for specific “off-on” sensing of Co2+ and EDTA for in vivo bioimaging. Materials Science and Engineering C, 123.