Mention of arsenic poisoning usually brings to mind underhanded murder. However, the danger of arsenic poisoning from contaminated drinking water is far greater. Low concentrations of arsenic are found in nearly all soils and thus also in ground water.
About 140 million people worldwide possibly drink water that contains arsenic concentrations above the WHO-recommended limit of 10 ppb (parts per billion). Researchers at Jackson State University (MS, USA) have now developed a new approach for a rapid, easy, and highly sensitive arsenic test.
As Paresh Chandra Ray’s team reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their method is based on the aggregation of gold nanoparticles, and it selectively detects arsenic in drinking water down to concentrations of 3 ppt (parts per trillion).
Countries like India, Bangladesh, and Thailand are primarily affected by ground water with high arsenic concentrations. However, high concentrations of arsenic have also been found in some areas of North and South America. Once detected, the problem can fairly easily be addressed. Current analytical techniques are time-consuming and require a series of enrichment steps.
The new process could now speed up and simplify arsenic analysis. The scientists working with Ray have attached special organic molecules to the surfaces of gold nanoparticles. These molecules act as “ligands” for arsenic, meaning that they form a complex with it. Each arsenic ion can bind to three ligands, which allows it to link together up to three gold particles. The higher the arsenic concentration in the sample, the more strongly the gold particles clump together and the number of bigger aggregates increases. The color of gold nanoparticles in a liquid depends on their size. Whereas the arsenic-free gold nanoparticles appear red, arsenic-induced aggregation causes the color to change to blue. Concentrations down to 1 ppb can be detected with the naked eye by means of the color change. Arsenic binds to the ligands much more strongly than other metals; the researchers were able to increase this selectivity by attaching three different ligands to the gold.
One very precise method for detecting minimal changes in particle size is dynamic light scattering (DLS), in which laser light scattered by the particles is analyzed. By using DLS, Ray and his co-workers were able to detect and quantify arsenic concentrations as low as 3 ppt. In samples of well water from Bangladesh, the team found 28 ppb arsenic; in water from taps in Jackson (Mississippi, USA) they found 380 ppt.
Author: Paresh Chandra Ray, Jackson State University (USA), http://chem.jsums.edu/ray/
Title: Use of Gold Nanoparticles in a Simple Colorimetric and Ultrasensitive Dynamic Light Scattering Assay: Selective Detection of Arsenic in Groundwater
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 51, 9668–9671, doi: 10.1002/anie.200903958
Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover
First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences