Corresponding Author

Guo-kun LIU(guokunliu@xmu.edu.cn);
Dong-xing YUAN(yuandx@xmu.edu.cn)


Aiming at the on-site and quick safety evaluation of the dissolved trace copper ions (Cu2+) in drinking water source, an electrochemical detection platform was developed on the basis of the square wave anodic stripping voltammetry using the gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) modified glassy carbon electrode, where Au NPs were deposited via electrochemical cyclic voltammetry. The proposed method displayed the limit of detection as low as 1.3 μg·L-1 in the linear range of 2 ~ 50 μg·L-1. The proposed method was applied to the determination of Cu2+ in the midstream of Minjiang River, one of the most important drinking water sources in Fujian province, China. The results were nearly identical to that obtained by the standard method quantitatively with a deviation less than 20%. Furthermore, the proposed electrochemical method is simple, economical and fast, and has the potential for the field determination of trace dissolved Cu2+ in various drinking water sources facilitated with the portable potentiostat.

Graphical Abstract


electrochemical determination, square wave anodic stripping voltammetry, gold nanoparticles, trace copper, drinking water

Publication Date


Online Available Date


Revised Date


Received Date



[1] Uriu-Adams J Y, Keen C L. Copper, oxidative stress, and human health[J]. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 2005, 26(4/5): 268-298.
[2] Bonham M, O'Connor J M, Hannigan B M, et al. The immune system as a physiological indicator ofmarginal copper status?[J]. British Journal of Nutrition, 2002, 87(5): 393-403.
[3] Kumar V, Kalita J, Bora H K, et al. Relationship of antioxidant and oxidative stress markers in different organs following copper toxicity in a rat model[J]. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2016, 293: 37-43.
[4] Nriagu J O. Copper in the environment[M]. Wiley, New Jersey, 1979.
[5] Ghazban F, Parizanganeh A, Zamani A, et al. Assessment of heavy metal pollution in water and sediments from the ghalechay river, baychebagh copper mine area, iran[J]. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 2015, 24(2): 172-190.
[6] Arman P, Wain R L. Studies upon the copper fungicides[J]. Annals of Applied Biology, 2008, 46(3): 366-374.
[7] Cerník M, Federer P, Borkovec M, et al. Modeling of heavy metal transport in a contaminated soil[J]. Journal of Environmental Quality, 1994, 23(6): 1239-1248.
[8] Huttunen-Saarivirta E, Rajala P, Bomberg M, et al. EIS study on aerobic corrosion of copper in ground water: Influence of micro-organisms[J]. Electrochimica Acta, 2017, 240: 163-174.
[9] Karami H, Mousavi M F, Yamini Y, et al. On-line preconcentration and simultaneous determination of heavy metal ions by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2004, 509(1): 89-94.
[10] Biller D V, Bruland K W. Analysis of Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb in seawater using the nobias-chelate PA1 resin and magnetic sector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)[J]. Marine Chemistry,2012, 130: 12-20.
[11] Yebra-Biurrun M C, Carro-Marino N. Flow injection flame atomic absorption determination of Cu, Mn and Zn partitioning in seawater by on-line room temperature sonolysis and minicolumn chelating resin methodology[J]. Talanta, 2010, 83(2): 425-430.
[12] Safavi A, Maleki N, Farjami F. Selective kinetic spectrophotometric determination of copper at nanograms per milliliter level[J]. Talanta, 2001, 54(2): 397-402.
[13] Chaiyo S, Siangproh W, Apilux A, et al. Highly selective and sensitive paper-based colorimetric sensor using thiosulfate catalytic etching of silver nanoplates for trace determination of copper ions[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2015, 866: 75-83.
[14] Weng Z Q, Wang H B, Vongsvivut J, et al. Self-assembly of core-satellite gold nanoparticles for colorimetric detection of copper ions[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 2013, 803: 128-134.
[15] Lan G Y, Huang C C, Chang H T. Silver nanoclusters as fluorescent probes for selective and sensitive detection of copper ions[J]. Chemical Communications, 2010, 46(8): 1257-1259.
[16] Tsoutsi D, Guerrini L, Hermida-Ramon J M, et al. Simultaneous sers detection of copper and cobalt at ultratrace levels[J]. Nanoscale, 2013, 5(13): 5841-5846.
[17] Plavsic M, Krznaric D, Branica M. Determination of the apparent copper complexing capacity of sea-water by anodic-stripping voltammetry[J]. Marine Chemistry, 1982, 11(1): 17-31.
[18] Hoyer B, Florence T M, Batley G E. Application of polymer-coated glassy carbon electrodes in anodic stripping voltammetry[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 1987, 59(13): 1608-
[19] Illuminati S, Annibaldi A, Truzzi C, et al. Determination of water: Soluble, acid-extractable and inert fractions of Cd, Pb and Cu in antarctic aerosol by square wave anodic stripping voltammetry after sequential extraction and microwave digestion[J]. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2015, 755: 182-196.
[20] Prasad B B, Fatma S. Electrochemical sensing of ultra trace copper(II) by alga-omniiip modified pencil graphite electrode[J]. Sensors and Actuators B - Chemical, 2016, 229: 655-663.
[21] Tindall G W, Bruckenstein S. A ring-disk electrode study of the electrochemical reduction of copper(II) in 0.2 M sulfuric acid on platinum[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 1968, 40(7): 1051-1054.
[22] Salaun P, van den Berg CMG. Voltammetric detection of mercury and copper in seawater using a gold microwire electrode[J]. Analytical Chemistry, 2006, 78(14): 5052-5060.
[23] Bai Y(白燕), Cheng T(程涛), Li J G(李继革), et al. L-cysteine modified silver electrode and the determination of copper ions[J]. Chinese Journal of Analytical Chemistry(分析化学), 2002, 30(3): 383-383.
[24] Kolb D M, Przasnyski M, Gerischer H. Underpotential deposition of metals and work function differences[J]. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Interfacial Electrochemistry, 1974, 54(1): 25-38.
[25] Siriangkhawut W, Grudpan K, Jakmunee J. Sequential injection anodic stripping voltammetry with monosegmented flow and in-line UV digestion for determination of Zn(II), Cd(II), Pb(II) and Cu(II) in water samples[J]. Talanta, 2011, 84(5): 1366-1373.
[26] Yang W R, Jaramillo D, Gooding J J, et al. Sub-ppt detection limits for copper ions with gly-gly-his modified electrodes[J]. Chemical Communications, 2001, 19: 1982-1983.
[27] Fan Y C, Xu C, Wang R P, et al. Determination of copper (II) ion in food using an ionic liquids-carbon nano-tubes-based ion-selective electrode[J]. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 2017, 62: 63-68.
[28] Sipos L, Nürnberg H W, Valenta P, et al. The reliable determination of mercury traces in sea water by subtractive differential pulse voltammetry at the twin gold electrode[J]. Analytica Chimica Acta, 1980, 115: 25-42.
[29] Hezard T, Fajerwerg K, Evrard D, et al. Gold nanoparticles electrodeposited on glassy carbon using cyclic voltammetry: Application to Hg(II) trace analysis[J]. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2012, 664: 46-52.
[30] Hezard T, Fajerwerg K, Evrard D, et al. Influence of the gold nanoparticles electrodeposition method on Hg(II) trace electrochemical detection[J]. Electrochimica Acta, 2012, 73: 15-22.
[31] Holt K B, Sabin G, Compton R G, et al. Reduction of tetrachloroaurate (III) at boron-doped diamond electrodes: Gold deposition versus gold colloid formation[J]. Electroanalysis, 2002, 14(12): 797-803.
[32] Gunawardena G, Hills G, Montenegro I, et al. Electrochemical nucleation: Part I. General considerations[J]. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry & Interfacial Electrochemistry, 1982, 138(2): 225-239.
[33] O€™Mullane A P, Ippolito S J, Sabri Y M, et al. Premonolayer oxidation of nanostructured gold: An important factor influencing electrocatalytic activity[J]. Langmuir, 2009, 25(6): 3845-3852.
[34] Angerstein-Kozlowska H, Conway B E, Hamelin A, et al. Elementary steps of electrochemical oxidation of single-crystal planes of Au. 1. Chemical basis of processes involving geometry of anions and the electrode surfaces[J]. Electrochimica Acta, 1986, 31(8): 1051-1061.
[35] Abollino O, Giacomino A, Malandrino M, et al. Determination of mercury by anodic stripping voltammetry with a gold nanoparticle - modified glassy carbon electrode[J]. Electroanalysis, 2010, 20(1): 75-83.
[36] Inczedy J. Analytical applications of complex equilibra[J]. Ellis Horwood Publisher, Chicheste, 1976: 1762-1770.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.