Magnetic isolation using magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) as trapping probes have been widely used in sample pretreatment to shorten analysis time. Nevertheless, to generate MNPs is time-consuming. Furthermore, the generated MNPs have to be further functionalized to gain the capability of recognizing their target species. Thus, an alternative approach that can impose magnetism to nonmagnetic species by simply using magnetic ions as the probes is developed in this study. That is, we employ magnetic ions (Fe 3+ , Co 2+ , and Ni 2+ ) that can interact with nonmagnetic species containing oxygen-containing functional groups as the probes. Pyrophosphate (PPi), bacteria, and mammalian cells were selected as the model samples. Our results show that the as-prepared magnetic ion-PPi conjugates gain sufficient magnetism and can be readily aggregated by applying an external magnetic field. Moreover, the magnetic trapping is reversible. The PPi-containing conjugates can lose their magnetic property simply using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or aluminum ions as competing agents to remove or to replace, respectively, the conjugated magnetic ions. In addition, bacteria and mammalian cells that possess abundant oxygen-containing functional groups on their cell surfaces can be selectively probed by magnetic ions and gain sufficient magnetism for magnetic isolation from complex serum samples.
- magnetic ions
- pyrophosphates (PPi)