Novel Nanohorn Electrochemical Sensor to Detect Fungicide in Juice

Carbendazim is a fungicide used in many fruit and vegetable crops to kill or restrict fungus development. Although carbendazim is advantageous for crop production, its frequent use may result in acute and delayed harmful effects on fruit and vegetable crops, reducing their yield.

Novel Nanohorn Electrochemical Sensor to Detect Fungicide in Juice​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Study: A highly-sensitive sensor based on carbon nanohorns@reduced graphene oxide coated by gold platinum core-shell nanoparticles for electrochemical detection of carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juice. Image Credit: stockcreations/

A pre-proof paper from the journal Food Chemistry tackles this issue by using a novel carbon nanohorns@reduced graphene oxide (CNH@RGO) sensor for electrochemical detection of carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juices.

Carbendazim: Overview and Harmful Impacts

Fruit and vegetable juices are growing more prominent as the general public becomes more health-conscious. These juices are often created using physical processes such as extrusion, distillation, and centrifugation, using vegetables and fruits as source ingredients. However, these crops can be damaged by numerous diseases during the cultivation process, necessitating chemicals for pathogen management.

Carbendazim is a wide-ranging benzimidazole fungicide with low cytotoxicity and remarkable effectiveness. Additionally, carbendazim is extensively employed in agricultural operations and can successfully manage several plant diseases. However, certain hazardous carbendazim components may be absorbed by the soil and transferred into juice products.

Many investigations have shown that prolonged carbendazim exposure can also trigger eye injuries, liver illness, vomiting, and chromosomal abnormalities. As a result, it is highly important to design and optimize techniques for detecting carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juice.

Electrochemical Analysis: The Future of Carbendazim Detection

Typical techniques for detecting carbendazim include capillary analysis, gas chromatography, and fluorescent spectroscopy. Nonetheless, these methods have several limitations, including complex operation, limited sensitivity, pricey equipment, and considerable variance.

In contrast, electrochemical testing for the detection of carbendazim offers the benefits of convenience, rapidity, cheap cost, and high selectivity.

Some carbon nanoparticles, like reduced graphene oxide (RGO) and carbon nanohorns (CNHs), are abundant in oxygen-containing reactive groups. They can also establish hydrogen linkages with imino in carbendazim, thus enriching carbendazim and increasing the responsiveness of electrochemical sensing.

In addition, previous studies have shown that integrating several carbon compounds can enhance the composites' electrical conduction and electrocatalytic capabilities.

Enhancing the Efficiency of Electrochemical Carbendazim Detection

It is commonly accepted that the nanocomposite (CNHs@RGO) has a higher electrocatalytic potential for carbendazim detection than either RGO or CNHs alone. However, it is quite challenging to produce these composites because RGO and CNHs have the same interface charges.

The tetra ammonium salt cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) can be used efficiently to change the interfacial charges of nanoparticles. In addition, CTAB is capable of resolving the issue of inadequate water distribution in carbon nanostructures. CTAB is a suitable crosslinking reagent for producing CNHs@RGO composites for carbendazim detection.

Previous research has also shown that applying metal nanoparticles to carbon nanoparticles can increase carbon nanoparticles' electrochemically active surface area, catalytic properties, and endurance. Compared to single-metal precursors, bimetallic core-shell complexes often exhibit superior catalytic performance.

In this context, gold platinum core-shell nanoparticles (Au@Pt NPs) are a suitable candidate for electrochemical detection applications due to a strong electrical interaction between gold (Au) and platinum (Pt).

Highlights and Key Developments of the Current Study

In this study, the researchers developed a sensor based on a glassy-carbon electrode (GCE) customized with Au@Pt NPs and CNHs@RGO for extremely accurate electrochemical sensing of carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juice.

The production method of electrode materials was first examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), zeta capability, energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

The appropriate settings for detection and quantitative assessment of the sensor were then investigated. Lastly, carrot juice and orange juice were used to validate the sensor's applicability.

The methodological assessment revealed that the as-prepared sensor exhibited outstanding detection capability for carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juices, including a broad linear range, a low detection limit of 1.64 nmol/L, and reasonable recovery rates. In addition, the sensor also demonstrated excellent interference resistance and reproducibility.

Carbon nanohorns, reduced graphene oxide, and Au@Pt NPs give a strong electron transfer capability and a large electrochemically active surface area, largely responsible for the sensor's exceptional performance.

Based on these results, it is plausible to assume that the electrochemical detection sensor created in this work may offer a practical, cost-effective, and accurate method for detecting pesticide residues in various fruit and vegetable juice samples.


Li, W. et al. (2022). A highly-sensitive sensor based on carbon nanohorns@reduced graphene oxide coated by gold platinum core-shell nanoparticles for electrochemical detection of carbendazim in fruit and vegetable juice. Food Chemistry. Available at:

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Hussain Ahmed

Written by

Hussain Ahmed

Hussain graduated from Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering. During his studies, he worked on several research projects related to Aerospace Materials & Structures, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Nano-technology & Robotics. After graduating, he has been working as a freelance Aerospace Engineering consultant. He developed an interest in technical writing during sophomore year of his B.S degree and has wrote several research articles in different publications. During his free time, he enjoys writing poetry, watching movies and playing Football.


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