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Quantum Dots Based Mesoporous Structured Imprinting Microspheres for the Sensitive Fluorescent Detection of Phycocyanin

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journal contribution
posted on 06.05.2015, 00:00 by Zhong Zhang, Jinhua Li, Xiaoyan Wang, Dazhong Shen, Lingxin Chen
Phycocyanin with important physiological/environmental significance has attracted increasing attention; versatile molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) have been applied to diverse species, but protein imprinting is still quite difficult. Herein, using phycocyanin as template via a sol–gel process, we developed a novel fluorescent probe for specific recognition and sensitive detection of phycocyanin by quantum dots (QDs) based mesoporous structured imprinting microspheres (SiO2@QDs@ms-MIPs), obeying electron-transfer-induced fluorescence quenching mechanism. When phycocyanin was present, a Meisenheimer complex would be produced between phycocyanin and primary amino groups of QDs surface, and then the photoluminescent energy of QDs would be transferred to the complex, leading to the fluorescence quenching of QDs. As a result, the fluorescent intensity of the SiO2@QDs@ms-MIPs was significantly decreased within 8 min, and accordingly a favorable linearity within 0.02–0.8 μM and a high detectability of 5.9 nM were presented. Excellent recognition specificity for phycocyanin over its analogues was displayed, with a high imprinting factor of 4.72. Furthermore, the validated probe strategy was successfully applied to seawater and lake water sample analysis, and high recoveries in the range of 94.0–105.0% were attained at three spiking levels of phycocyanin, with precisions below 5.3%. The study provided promising perspectives to develop fluorescent probes for convenient, rapid recognition and sensitive detection of trace proteins from complex matrices, and further pushed forward protein imprinting research.