Catalytic chemosensing assay for selective detection of methyl parathion organophosphate pesticide

Anxun ZHENG, Chang SHEN, Qian TANG, Cheng-Bin GONG, Cheuk Fai Stephen CHOW

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, a catalytic chemosensing assay (CCA), based on a bimetallic complex, [Ruᴵᴵ(bpy)₂(CN)₂]₂–(CuᴵI)₂ (bpy = 2,2′‐bipyridine), has been described. This complex integrates a task‐specific catalyst (Cuᴵ‐catalyst) and a signaling unit ([Ruᴵᴵ(bpy)₂(CN)₂]) to specifically hydrolyze methyl parathion, a highly toxic organophosphate pesticide (OP). The bimetallic complex catalyzed the hydrolysis of the phosphate ester to generate o,o‐dimethyl thiophosphate (DTP) anion and 4‐nitrophenolate. Intrinsically, 4‐nitrophenolate absorbed UV‐Vis light at λmax = 400 nm, creating the first level of the chemosensing signal. DTP interacted with the original complex to displace the chromophore, [Ruᴵᴵ(bpy)₂(CN)₂], which was monitored by spectrofluorometry; this was classified as the second level of the chemosensing signal. By integrating both spectroscopic and spectrofluorometric signals with a simple AND logic gate, only methyl parathion was able to provide a positive response. Other aromatic and aliphatic organophosphate pesticides (diazinon, fenthion, meviphos, terbufos, and phosalone) and 4‐nitrophenyl acetate provided negative responses. Furthermore, owing to the metal‐catalyzed hydrolysis of methyl parathion, the CCA system led to the detoxification of the pesticide. The CCA system also demonstrated its catalytic chemosensing properties in the detection of methyl parathion in real samples, including tap water, river water, and underground water. Copyright © 2019 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9643-9649
JournalChemistry: A European Journal
Issue number41
Early online date24 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2019


Zheng, A., Shen, C., Tang, Q., Gong, C.-B., & Chow, C.-F. (2019). Catalytic chemosensing assay for selective detection of methyl parathion organophosphate pesticide. Chemistry: A European Journal, 25(41), 9643-9649. doi: 10.1002/chem.201901656


  • Indicator displacement assay
  • Catalyst displacement assay
  • Bimetallic donor-acceptor ensemble
  • Catalytic-based chemosensor
  • Methyl parathion
  • Logic gate


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