Bio-inspired colorimetric detection of Hg2+ and Pb2+ heavy metal ions using Au nanoparticles

Marc R. Knecht, Manish Sethi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Heavy metal ions are highly toxic species which can cause long-term damage to biological systems. These species are known to disrupt biological events at the cellular level, cause significant oxidative damage, and are carcinogens. The production of simple, in-field detection methods that are highly sensitive for these cations is highly desirable in response to global pollution. In that regard, bio-inspired colorimetric sensing systems have been developed to detect Hg2+ and Pb2+, and other cations, down to nmol L -1 concentrations. The benefits of these systems, which are reviewed herein, include cost-effective production, facile usage, and a visual color change for the detection method. Such advantages are significant positive steps for heavy metal ion detection, especially in regions where sophisticated laboratory studies are prohibited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Au nanoparticles
  • Bio-inspired nanotechnology
  • Colorimetric detection
  • Heavy metal detection
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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