Carbon Dots for Heavy-Metal Sensing, pH-Sensitive Cargo Delivery, and Antibacterial Applications

Poushali Das, Moorthy Maruthapandi, Arumugam Saravanan, Michal Natan, Gila Jacobi, Ehud Banin, Aharon Gedanken

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114 Scopus citations


Currently, the technologies accompanying the usage of waste materials for the fabrication of innovative useful materials have been significantly advanced. For the same purpose, a possible sustainable approach was demonstrated for the utilization of jute caddies, known as jute industry waste. From the industrial waste, carbon dots (CDs) were sonochemically prepared, followed by their surface modification with benzalkonium chloride (BZC) to yield waste jute-derived fluorescent surface-quaternized CDs (JB-CDs), which exhibit excellent water solubility, excitation-dependent emission, and good photostability, and were utilized as a fluorescent nanoswitch to detect inorganic pollutants, such as chromium (VI) [Cr(VI)] ions, in aqueous solutions. JB-CDs can detect Cr(VI) concentrations as low as 0.03 μM through luminescence quenching ("turn-off") and further recover their fluorescence ("turn-on") selectively for sensing ascorbic acid (AA), compared with other metal ions and biomolecules tested. The present technique has the advantages of fast response time and high selectivity and sensitivity in practical applications. JB-CDs were tested against a Gram-negative bacterium, Escherichia coli, and a Gram-positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, to confirm their bactericidal activity. The results indicated that JB-CDs substantially inhibited the growth of the tested bacteria. Besides this, JB-CDs played the role of a nanovehicle to exemplify the release study of a model drug ciprofloxacin. It was observed that the surface-quaternized JB-CDs showed a pH-responsive release behavior, where the release behavior was found to be better controlled at pH 7.4 than at pH 5.2 and 6.8. The synthesis of such a fluorescent nanobutton, stimuli-responsive drug release, and antibacterial nanomaterial using a sustainable material such as jute industrial waste can pave the path for a smart multifunctional material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11777-11790
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - 24 Dec 2020

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  • antibacterial activity
  • carbon dots
  • drug delivery
  • fluorescence
  • sensing


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