A SERS aptasensor for sensitive and selective detection of bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Academic Article uri icon


  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is an endocrine disruptor commonly present in plastic products, such as PVC tubes and water bottles. In this work, a surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) based aptasensor was developed and utilized for rapid, easy, sensitive, and specific detection of trace DEHP. A DEHP aptamer was immobilized on magnetic particles. Raman reporter molecule conjugated silver nanoparticles were clustered and coated with silica to provide a stable SERS signal. The SERS silica particle was then functionalized with 1,2,4-benzenetricarboxylic acid 1,2-bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester to increase its affinity to the DEHP aptamer. In the presence of a sample with DEHP, the high-affinity SERS silica particle competes with the DEHP molecule to bind with the aptamer on the magnetic particle. By measuring the signal of free SERS silica particles in the supernatant after magnetic separation, the concentration of DEHP in the sample was quantitatively determined. The developed DEHP aptasensor had a detection range from 0.008 to 182 nM and a limit of detection (LOD) of 8 pM. The aptasensor also showed high selectivity when exposed to interferents with analogous structures. The aptasensor was successfully tested for the detection of DEHP spiked in tap water, bottled water, and a carbonate beverage. The developed SERS-based aptasensor provides a rapid, sensitive, and easy-to-use method for the quantitative detection of DEHP in environmental and food analysis.

published proceedings

  • RSC Adv

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Tu, D., Garza, J. T., & Cot, G. L.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Tu, Dandan||Garza, Javier T||Coté, Gerard L

publication date

  • January 2019