Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Chemistry and Biochemistry


Fluorescence, Oil industry, Peptides, Phosphate, Phosphonate







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is an essential compound for all living things, as it serves as a component of nucleic acids and ATP, which are required for plant growth and proliferation. However, when excess Pi enters the aquatic environment, it has severe detrimental effects through the induction of harmful algal blooms (HAB), which negatively impact aquatic life, the quality of drinking water as well as recreational activities. It is therefore critical to have fast, sensitive, and inexpensive sensors for Pi that quickly and quantitively measure its concentration in a field setting.

Phosphonates or organophosphorus compounds are phosphoric acids possessing alkyl or aryl linkages. Phosphonates (PN) are heavily used as antifouling agents in the oil industry. PN is added in high concentrations to the feedstock and act to block fouling. During this process, large amounts of PN are spread into the environment making the development of fast and accurate determination methods a requirement.

Our study focused on working on two different peptides for detecting Pi and PN. Different numbers of amino acids were modeled through ChemDraw to finalize the best hexapeptides. We used the MM2 tool in ChemDraw to achieve minimized dansylated structure with and without Pi. The two peptides having a large distance between fluorophores are Ala Ala Arg Arg Gly Gly and Gly Gly Arg Arg Trp Gly. These hexapeptides were chosen to be titrated by different concentrations of Pi and PN from 4.88-5000 μM. Knowing the quenching properties of Pi and PN, we used the fluorescence signal as a sensor for them with an estimated detection limit of 4.88 μM.