Scientists in China have developed a sensor that can indicate the presence of heavy metal ions in a sample with a simple colour change.
Heavy metal ions such as mercury and lead are persistent pollutants in the environment and can cause severe health problems. Routine sampling of water sources is vital to evaluate the levels of toxic metals.
Current detection techniques involve the use of expensive equipment, require skilled technicians and are time consuming. A range of research has looked at developing detection techniques for in-field use and recently, interest has been focused on using aptamers. Aptamers are single-stranded DNA or RNA molecules that have been shown to reversibly bind with mercury and lead. Several sensors have been developed that incorporate aptamers but most have required complex labelling or detection techniques.
Read the full article in Chemistry World
Link to journal article
Colorimetric photonic hydrogel aptasensor for the screening of heavy metal ions
Bao-Fen Ye , Yuan-Jin Zhao , Yao Cheng , Ting-Ting Li , Zhuo-Ying Xie , Xiang-Wei Zhao and Zhong-Ze Gu
Nanoscale, 2012,4, 5998-6003, DOI: 10.1039/C2NR31601C