Bisulfite (HSO) has been widely used as an antioxidant, enzyme inhibitor and antimicrobial agent in foodstuffs, pharmaceutical and beverages industries. It is also a signaling molecular in the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. Nevertheless, a high level of HSO can cause allergic reactions and asthmatic attacks. Accordingly, the monitoring of HSO levels possesses momentous significance from the perspectives of biological technology and food security supervision. Herein, a near-infrared fluorescent probe LJ is rationally constructed for sensing HSO. The fluorescence quenching recognition mechanism was realized by the addition reaction of electron-deficient CC bond in probe LJ and HSO. Probe LJ revealed multifarious preponderances such as longer wavelength emission (710 nm), low cytotoxicity, larger Stokes shift (215 nm), better selectivity, higher sensitivity (72 nM) and short response time (50 s). Encouragingly, probe LJ can detect HSO in living zebrafish and mice in vivo by fluorescence imaging techniques. In the meantime, probe LJ was also successfully employed to semi-quantitatively detect HSO in real foodstuff samples and water samples by the “naked-eye” colorimetry without the help of any special instruments. More importantly, quantitative detection of HSO in practical food samples was achieved through a smartphone application software. Consequently, probe LJ is expected to provide an effective and convenient way for the detection and monitoring of HSO in organisms and for food safety detection, which has tremendous application potential.
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