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Toxicity induced by inorganic arsenic as AsO33- (iAsIII) is of global concern. Reliable detection of the maximum allowed contaminant level for arsenic in drinking water and in the cellular system remains a challenge for the water quality management and assessment of toxicity in the cellular milieu, respectively. A new Ir(III)-based phosphorescent molecule (AS-1; λExt = 415 nm and λEms = 600 nm, Φ = 0.3) is synthesized for the selective detection of iAsIII in an aqueous solution with a ratiometric luminescence response even in the presence of iAsV and all other common inorganic cations and anions. The relatively higher affinity of the thioimidazole ligand (HPBT) toward iAsIII led to the formation of a fluorescent molecule iAsV-HPBT (λExt = 415 nm and λEms = 466 nm, Φ = 0.28) for the reaction of iAsIII and AS-1. An improved limit of quantitation (LOQ) down to 0.2 ppb is achieved when AS-1 is used in the CTAB micellar system. Presumably, the cationic surfactants favor the localization of AS-1@CTABMicelle in mitochondria of MCF7 cells, and this is confirmed from the images of the confocal laser fluorescence scanning microscopic studies. Importantly, cell viability assay studies confirm that AS-1@CTABMicelle induces dose-dependent detoxification of iAsIII in live cells. Further, luminescence responses at 466 nm could be utilized for developing a hand-held device for the in-field application. Such a reagent that allows for ratiometric detection of iAsIII with LOQ of 2.6 nM (0.5 ppb) in water, as well as helps in visualizing its distribution in mitochondria with a detoxifying effect, is rather unique in contemporary literature.

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Journal article


Inorg Chem

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