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Synthesis of carbon quantum dots for DNA labeling and its electrochemical, fluorescent and electrophoretic characterization

Vedran Milosavljevic, Hoai Viet Nguyen, Petr Michalek, Amitava Moulick, Pavel Kopel, Rene Kizek, and Vojtech Adam

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Agronomy, Mendel University in Brno, Zemedelska 1, CZ-613 00 Brno, Czech Republic



Abstract: Nanoparticles as a progressively developing branch offer a tool for studying the interaction of carbon quantum dots (CQDs) with DNA. In this study, fluorescent CQDs were synthesized using citric acid covered with polyethylene glycol (PEG) as the source of carbon precursors. Furthermore, interactions between CQDs and DNA (double-stranded DNA and single-stranded DNA) were investigated by spectral methods, gel electrophoresis, and electrochemical analysis. Primarily, the fluorescent behavior of CQDs in the presence of DNA was monitored and major differences in the interaction of CQDs with tested single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) were observed at different amounts of CQDs (μg mL−1: 25, 50, 100, 250, 500). It was found that the interaction of ssDNA with CQDs had no significant influence on the CQDs fluorescence intensity measured at the excitation wavelengths of 280 nm, 350 nm, and 400 nm. However, in the presence of dsDNA, the fluorescence intensity of CQDs was significantly increased. Our results provide basic understanding of the interaction between CQDs and DNA. Such fabricated CQDs-DNA might be of great benefit for the emerging nanomaterials based biosensing methods.

Keywords: carbon quantum dots – DNA – spectrophotometry – gel electrophoresis – electrochemical analysis

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-014-0590-2


Chemical Papers 69 (1) 192–201 (2015)

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