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Cellulose Nanofibers Coated with Silver Nanoparticles as a SERS Platform for Detection of Pesticides in Apples


A nanocomposite based on cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) coated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was developed in this study as a flexible and effective substrate for use in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) analysis. An effective Raman indicator molecule, 4-aminothiophenol (pATP), was used to characterize AgNPs impregnated on CNFs. The CNF-AgNP films were used in SERS analysis to detect thiabendazole (TBZ) pesticides in apples. The influence of pH on the SERS spectra of TBZ was investigated because TBZ is a neutral molecule that has a low affinity for AgNPs. The pH of TBZ solution was decreased to below the TBZ’s pKa, thus enabling the electrostatic attraction between TBZ and AgNPs. CNFs can prevent the uncontrolled aggregation of AgNPs in low pH environment and serve as an effective AgNP/nanocellulose platform for SERS analysis. Results of this study demonstrate that CNF-AgNP nanocomposites can be used to rapidly detect TBZ pesticides in various food products.