Bioinspired ZnS:Gd Nanoparticles Synthesized from an Endophytic Fungi Aspergillus flavus for Fluorescence-Based Metal Detection

Biomimetics (Basel). 2019 Feb 1;4(1):11. doi: 10.3390/biomimetics4010011.


Recently, several nonconventional sources have emerged as strong hotspots for the biosynthesis of chalcogenide quantum dots. However, studies that have ascertained the biomimetic methodologies that initiate biosynthesis are rather limited. The present investigation portrays a few perspectives of rare-earth(Gd)-doped ZnS biosynthesis using the endophytic fungi Aspergillus flavus for sensing metals based on their fluorescence. Analysis of ZnS:Gd nanoparticles was performed by elemental analysis, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), photoluminescence (PL), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results of TEM demonstrated that the particles were polycrystalline in nature, with a mean size of 10-18 nm. The fluorescence amenability of the biogenic ZnS nanoparticles was further used for the development of a simple and efficient sensing array. The results showed sensitive and detectable quenching/enhancement in the fluorescence of biogenic colloidal ZnS nanoparticles, in the presence of Pb (II), Cd (II), Hg (II), Cu (II) and Ni (II), respectively. The fluorescence intensity of the biogenic ZnS:Gd nanoparticles was found to increase compared to that of the ZnS nanoparticles that capacitate these systems as a reliable fluorescence sensing platform with selective environmental applications.

Keywords: Aspergillus flavus; ZnS nanoparticles; biosynthesis; endophytic fungi; semiconductor.