Visual Screening and Colorimetric Determination of Clenbuterol and Ractopamine Using Unmodified Gold Nanoparticles as Probe

J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2016 Jan;16(1):548-54. doi: 10.1166/jnn.2016.11682.


In this paper, a sensitive method for the colorimetric detection of clenbuterol and ractopamine using citrate-stabilized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as probe was developed. The concentration of clenbuterol and ractopamine could be determined with naked eyes or a UV-vis spectrometer. By optimizing the influence of NaHSO₄ and incubation time, clenbuterol could be detected in the linear range of 0.1-4 µg/mL with the detection limit of 0.0158 µg/mL, and ractopamine could be detected in the linear range of 1-9 µg/mL with the detection limit of 0.0229 µg/mL. The proposed method could be successfully applied to detect clenbuterol and ractopamine in pig urines by a simple pre-treatment with excellent recoveries. The proposed colorimetric assay exhibits good reproducibility and accuracy, providing a simple and rapid method for the analysis of clenbuterol and ractopamine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clenbuterol / analysis*
  • Colorimetry / methods
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Phenethylamines / analysis*


  • Phenethylamines
  • ractopamine
  • Gold
  • Clenbuterol