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Peptide-Mediated Nanopore Detection of Uranyl Ions in Aqueous Media

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journal contribution
posted on 04.05.2017 by Golbarg M. Roozbahani, Xiaohan Chen, Youwen Zhang, Ruiqi Xie, Rui Ma, Dien Li, Huazhong Li, Xiyun Guan
Uranium is one of the most common radioactive contaminants in the environment. As a major nuclear material in production, environmental samples (like soil and groundwater) can provide signatures on uranium production activity inside the facility. Thus, developing a new and portable analytical technology for uranium in aqueous media is significant not only for environmental monitoring, but also for nonproliferation. In this work, a label-free method for the detection of uranyl (UO22+) ions is developed by monitoring the translocation of a peptide probe in a nanopore. Based on the difference in the number of peptide events in the absence and presence of uranyl ions, nanomolar concentration of UO22+ ions could be detected in minutes. The method is highly selective; micromolar concentrations of Cd2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+, Pb2+, Hg2+, Th4+, Mg2+, and Ca2+ would not interfere with the detection of UO22+ ions. In addition, simulated water samples were successfully analyzed.