Fluorescent detection of dipicolinic acid as a biomarker in bacterial spores employing terbium ion-coordinated magnetite nanoparticles

Thomas Myeongseok Koo, Min Jun Ko, Bum Chul Park, Myeong Soo Kim, Young Keun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Anthrax is a bioterror agent because of its toxicity and the tolerance of its bacterial spores. Thus, researchers have attempted to develop various nanomaterials to detect dipicolinic acid (DPA), a biomarker of bacterial spores. Nanomaterials containing lanthanide ions have received considerable attention, owing to their potential to exhibit high sensitivity and selectivity in the detection of DPA via chelation with molecules. However, the fluorescent signals of the lanthanide complex are quenchable because the nanomaterials simultaneously absorb the excitation and emission light. For the precise detection of DPA, pure signals have to be obtained from the complex by alleviating the quenching effect of the nanomaterials. In this study, we develop a structure with terbium ion (Tb3+)-coordinated magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticle to detect DPA. Tb3+ can be detached from the magnetite during chelation with the DPA, and the complex can emit the unencumbered signals with improved detection limit through the application of a magnetic field. The detection system exhibits a significantly lower detection limit (5.4 nM) than the infectious dosage of anthrax (60 μM) with high selectivity and chemical stability. This study informs the improvement of detection limits via the separation of nanomaterials and lanthanide complex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124870
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea ( 2019R1A2C3006587 ) and the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Republic of Korea, under the Industrial Technology Innovation Program ( 10080408 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Bacterial spore
  • Dipicolinic acid
  • Fluorescence
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Terbium ion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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