Novel Fluorescent Sensor for Mesotrione Detection


At Northeast Agriculture University, a recent study led by Liu Yang and Fei Ye, introduced a new fluorescent sensor that improved on previous methods for detecting mesotrione, an herbicide used to control weeds. Published in the journal Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, the study discusses how this new fluorescence sensor has an increased ability to detect mesotrione (1). The findings suggest that the sensor has wide applicability in the agriculture industry and environmental monitoring.

Blank white herbicide canister can in corn seedling field in springtime sunset | Image Credit: © Bits and Splits -

Blank white herbicide canister can in corn seedling field in springtime sunset | Image Credit: © Bits and Splits -

Despite mesotrione’s effectiveness at weed control, it had led to extreme levels of contamination, polluting the environment. Mesotrione is known for its efficacy and low toxicity, which is why it has been used widely (1). The research team sought to address the contamination issue by developing a turn-on competitive coordination-based fluorescent probe called 2-hydroxy-1-(9-purin)-methylidenehydrazinenaphthalene (HPM). This probe demonstrates sensitivity in detecting Al3+ in a specific solvent mixture with a remarkably low limit of detection (LOD) of 0.2 µM (1).

What makes HPM unique is its imaging capabilities. The researchers demonstrated in the study that the sensor can detect Al3+ within living cells, exhibiting minimal cytotoxicity (1). Leveraging the competitive coordination of HPM with Al3+, the researchers established the [HPM-Al3+] complex as a potential fluorescence sensor for detecting mesotrione, achieving an LOD of 0.2 µM (1). Using this complex in real samples showed that the probe had potential in being applied in mesotrione detection applications on-site (1).

The mechanism driving the [HPM-Al3+] complex's ability to sense mesotrione was investigated extensively to see the effect mesotrione would have to the HPM solution; ultimately, the experiment revealed a switch-off fluorescence mode upon the introduction of mesotrione to the HPM solution containing Al3+ (1). This offers a convenient and effective method for on-site mesotrione detection, eliminating the need for elaborate equipment or intricate pre-treatment processes (1).

This study establishes a highly effective and selectively sensitive [HPM-Al3+] complex, introducing a novel approach to mesotrione detection. The HPM probe's “turn-on” fluorescent mode, triggered by the presence of Al3+, showcases remarkable selectivity and sensitivity (1). Adding mesotrione to the HPM solution with Al3+ resulted in fluorescence quenching, which allowed the probe to efficiently detect this herbicide (1).

The development of this novel fluorescent sensor is a new advancement in environmental monitoring and agricultural practices. Detecting mesotrione contamination remains an important issue for farmers and environmental scientists. This new probe offers an improved, alternative solution to solve this issue that is leading to harmful environmental effects.

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(1) Wang, X.-Y.; Wang, L.-D.; Liu, Q.-H.; Sun, F.; Yang, L.; Ye, F. A Naked-eye Visible Aluminium (III)-based Complex Fluorescence Sensor for Sensitive Detection of Mesotrione. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2024, 308, 123706. DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2023.123706

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