Hydrothermal synthesis of gelatin quantum dots for high-performance biological imaging applications

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2020 Nov;212:112014. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2020.112014. Epub 2020 Sep 4.


In the present study, we are reporting a one-pot synthesis of gelatin quantum dots (GeQDs) by the hydrothermal process. The synthesized GeQDs were characterized by fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, ultraviolet-visible and photoluminescence spectroscopic techniques, and also by using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The GeQDs showed a high level of photoluminescence quantum yield (PLQY) with significantly higher stability for up to 6 months and presented similar fluorescent intensity as the initial PLQY without any precipitation and aggregation at ambient condition. The cell imaging ability of synthesized GeQDs was examined using cells belonging to diverse clinical backgrounds like bacterial cells including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, yeast cells including Candida albicans, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, and C. tropicalis, mycelial fungi including Aspergillus flavus and A. fumigatus cells, cancer cell lines A549, HEK293 and L929. The results demonstrated that the GeQDs illuminates the cells and can be utilized as potential cell labeling non-toxic biomarkers. In conclusion, it can be said that the gelatin stabilized QDs are a promising candidate for stable and long-term fluorescent imaging of different types of cells.

Keywords: Cell imaging; Fluorescent; Gelatin; Quantum dots.

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Animals
  • Chemistry Techniques, Synthetic
  • Fungi / cytology
  • Gelatin / chemistry*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Quantum Dots / chemistry*


  • Gelatin