A Green Synthesis Route to Derive Carbon Quantum Dots for Bioimaging Cancer Cells

Karthiga Anpalagan, Jimsheena Valiyakath Karakkat, Raz Jelinek, Nila Nandha Kadamannil, Tian Zhang, Ivan Cole, Kulmira Nurgali, Hong Yin, Daniel T.H. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon quantum dots (CQDs) are known for their biocompatibility and versatile applications in the biomedical sector. These CQDs retain high solubility, robust chemical inertness, facile modification, and good resistance to photobleaching, which makes them ideal for cell bioimaging. Many fabrication processes produce CQDs, but most require expensive equipment, toxic chemicals, and a long processing time. This study developed a facile and rapid toasting method to prepare CQDs using various slices of bread as precursors without any additional chemicals. This fast and cost-effective toasting method could produce CQDs within 2 h, compared with the 10 h process in the commonly used hydrothermal method. The CQDs derived from the toasting method could be used to bioimage two types of colon cancer cells, namely, CT-26 and HT-29, derived from mice and humans, respectively. Significantly, these CQDs from the rapid toasting method produced equally bright images as CQDs derived from the hydrothermal method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2103
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • bioimaging
  • cancer cells
  • carbon quantum dots
  • facile synthesis
  • hydrothermal method
  • toasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Materials Science (all)


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