Nanoscale | 5 Feb 2013
CK Su and YC Sun
To investigate the dynamic dissolution of quantum dots (QDs) in cell culture media, in this study we constructed an online automatic analytical system comprising a sequential in-tube solid phase extraction (SPE) device and an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometer. By means of selectively extracting QDs and cadmium ions (Cd(2+)) onto the interior surface of the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tube, this novel SPE device could be used to determine the degree of QD dissolution through a simple adjustment of sample acidity. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to exploit PTFE tubing as a selective SPE adsorbent for the online chemical differentiation of QDs and Cd(2+) ions with the goal of monitoring the phenomenon of QD dissolution in complicated biological matrices. We confirmed the analytical reliability of this system through comparison of the measured Cd-to-QD ratios to the expected values. When analyzing QDs and Cd(2+) ions at picomolar levels, a temporal resolution of 8 min was required to load sufficient amounts of the analytes to meet the sensitivity requirements of the ICP mass spectrometer. To demonstrate the practicability of this developed method, we measured the dynamic variations in the Cd-to-QD705 ratio in the presence of ascorbate as a physiological stimulant to generate reactive oxygen species in cell culture media and trigger the dissolution of QDs; our results suggest that the ascorbate-induced QD dissolution was dependent on the time, treatment concentration, and nature of the biomolecule.
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