Rapid and ultrasensitive detection of trace heavy metal mercury(II) ions (Hg(2+)) are of significant importance due to the induced serious risks for environment and human health. This presented article reports the gold nanoparticle-based dual labeling colorimetric method (Dual-COLO) for ultrasensitive and rapid detection of Hg(2+) using the specific thymine-Hg(2+)-thymine (T-Hg(2+)-T) as recognition system and the dual labeling strategy for signal amplification. Both qualitative and quantitative detections of Hg(2+) are achieved successfully in aqueous samples. More importantly, the achieved detection limit of 0.005 ng mL(-1) (0.025 nM) without any instruments is very competitive to other rapid detection methods even ICP-MS based methods. This Dual-COLO method is also applied directly for real water sample monitoring and, more importantly, applied in analysis of mercury poisoned animal tissues and body fluidic samples, indicating a potentially powerful and promising tool for environmental monitoring and food safety control.
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