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Aqueous monitoring of toxic mercury through a rhodamine-based fluorescent sensor

1 School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, 200240, China
2 School of Life Science and Food Engineering, Huaiyin Institute of Technology, Huaian 223003, China
3 Tecnologico de Monterrey, School of Engineering and Sciences, Campus Monterrey, Ave. Eugenio Garza Sada 2501, Monterrey, N.L., CP 64849, Mexico

Special Issues: State-of-the-art strategies to tackle emerging contaminants of high concern: In greening the 21st - century environmental engineering

Mercury is a toxic heavy element, which contaminates air, land, and water, thus posing environment and human health-related threats to the ecological system. Considering the adverse ecological effects, there is an urgent need to design and develop strategic tools to detect a broader spectrum of toxic elements in different environments. The development of point-of-care tools, e.g., sensor-based devices offers a noteworthy solution to detect and monitor real-time generation or release of environmentally-related toxic elements from different sectors, even with or without partial treatments. For a first-hand estimate, a qualitative method (colorimetric) for detection of mercury could suffice. Benefiting from the colorimetric recognition methodology, herein, we developed a new system (2-(5-bromothiazol-2-yl)-3’,6’-bis(diethylamino)spiro[isoindoline-1,9’ xanthen]-3-one) for the detection of mercury ions. The newly developed chemical sensor is composed of a fluorescent part (rhodamine b) and a binding site (2-amino-5-bromothiazole). A highly selective and sensitive response accompanied by visual color change (colorless to pink) towards Hg2+ was observed among miscellaneous metal cations. This colorimetric change confirmed that the coordination complex exists as spirocyclic ring opened derivative of rhodamine moiety. Furthermore, the binding affinity and detection limit was also calculated from the absorbance and emission data. The calculated values are in the order of 4.72 × 104 M−1 and 6.9 µM, respectively. In addition, the results reveal that the complex between the chemical sensor (S) and Hg2+ is reversible in the presence of ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA2−). Finally, the newly developed sensor S was employed to detect Hg2+ in the wastewater. The fluorescence intensity was measured at 583 nm with S followed by spiking with Hg2+ at different concentrations and related linearly. In summary, taken together all the properties suggest that the newly developed sensor might display great potential in the field of environmental monitoring of toxic elements.
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© 2019 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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