Development of prototype for metal ion sensor exploiting peptides and ionophore as recognition element

A novel method for rapid detection of toxic metals

Summary

The development of practical sensors for the detection and quantification of metal ions in environmental samples is the subject of considerable research. Single sensor that really can differentiate multiple metal ions are very scarce in the market. Majority of the sensors developed is either qualitative or semiquantitative with very limited detection limit.

We have demonstrated that combinatorial preparative method can be used to synthesize peptides having the desired number of amino acids and in the preprogrammed sequence. We have reported that with careful choice of amino acids and the right combinations, the peptides show very high selectivity towards heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, mercury, lead and arsenic. Our main interest in developing peptide functionalized nanosensors has been for detection of trace-level heavy metals in sources of fresh water such as rivers, lakes and ground water.