A Simple and Green Route for Room-Temperature Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles and Selective Colorimetric Detection of Cysteine

Pelin Onsekizoglu Bagci, Yi-cheng Wang, Sundaram Gunasekaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were synthesized at room temperature following a simple, rapid, and green route using fresh-squeezed apple juice as a reducing reagent. The optimal AuNPs, based on the particle color, stability, and color change suitable for colorimetric detection of cysteine (Cys), are synthesized using 5 mL of 10% apple juice, 1 mL of 10 mM gold precursor solution, and 1 mL of 0.1 M NaOH. Under this set of parameters, the AuNPs are synthesized within 30 min at room temperature. The average size (11.1 ± 3.2 nm) and ζ potential (-36.5 mV) of the AuNPs synthesized were similar to those of AuNPs prepared via the conventional citrate-reduction method. In the presence of Cys, unlike with any other amino acid, the AuNPs aggregated, possibly due to the gold-sulfur covalent interaction, yielding red-to-purple color change of the sample solution. The red-shift of the localized surface plasmon resonance peak of the AuNPs responsible for the color change was recorded by UV-vis spectrometer. The effect of other potential interferents such as glucose, ascorbic acid, K+, Na+, Ca2+, Zn2+, Ag+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Co2+, and Hg2+ were also examined. The results show that AuNPs can be used to selectively detect and measure Cys with a linear dependency in the range of 2 to 100 μM and a limit of detection (signal-to-noise ratio > 3) of 50 nM. The results suggest that the green-synthesized AuNPs are useful for simple, rapid, and sensitive colorimetric detection of Cys, which is an essential amino acid in food and biological systems. Practical Application: We describe a simple and green method, using fresh-squeezed apple juice, for synthesizing AuNPs at room temperature that are useful for various biosensing applications. Using the synthesized AuNPs, we further demonstrated detection of amino acid cysteine, which plays an important role in food and biological systems. Our method is highly sensitive, down to 50 nM, simple as it accompanies a visual color change, which occurs within about 15 min.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2071-2078
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Amino acid
  • Apple juice
  • Colorimetric sensor
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Green synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A Simple and Green Route for Room-Temperature Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles and Selective Colorimetric Detection of Cysteine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this