American Journal of Anal yt ical Chemistry, 2011, 2, 194-199
doi:10.4236/ajac.2011.22022 Published Online May 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJAC
Voltammetric Determination of Vitamin B6 at Glassy
Carbon Electrode Modified with Gold Nanoparticles
and Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
Yuzhong Zhang, Yuehong Wang
College of Chemistry and Materials Science, Anhui Key Laboratory of Chemo-Biosensing, Anhui
Normal University, Wuhu, China
Received January 9, 2011; revised February 25, 2011; accep ted M arch 1, 2011
In this work, the gold nanoparticles (Au NPs)/multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) composite film
modified glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was fabricated, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used
to investigate the assemble process of the composite film. In pH 7.0 PBS, an oxidation peak of the vitamin
B6 (VB6) was only observed at composite film modified electrode. Under the optimized conditions, the cur-
rent intensity was linear with the concentrations of VB6 in the range of 1.59 to 102.74 μg·mL–1 with a detec-
tion limit of 0.53 μg·mL–1 (S/N = 3). The modified electrode had been applied in pharmaceutical analysis,
and obtained good results.
Keywords: Vitamin B6, Gold Nanoparticles, Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes, Differential Pulse
1. Introduction
Vitamin B6 (VB6), also known as pyridoxine, is part of
the B group vitamins and plays an important role in the
synthesis and metabolism of amino acid. The deficiency
of VB6 has been suggested as the cause of many types of
illness and disease [1]. Several analytical methods have
been described in literature for determination of VB6,
including spectrophotometry [2,3], liquid chromatogram-
phy [4,5] and electrochemistry method [6,7]. R. Jimé-
nez-Prieto et al determined VB6 by spectrophotometric
techniques in the presence of other vitamins [8]. Fang et
al [9] detected VB6 in pharmaceutical preparations by
micellar electrokinetic chromatography with amperomet-
ric electrochemical method. Söderhjelm and Lindquist
[10] firstly detected VB6 in pharmaceutical preparations
with electrochemical method; however, the interferences
from ascorbic acid were existed and had not been re-
pelled. Until now, few papers had been described on the
determination of VB6 using electrochemical method.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been an important
group of nanomaterials with attractive geometrical, elec-
tronic and chemical properties. Recently, composite ma-
terials based on integration of CNTs and other materials
had gained growing interest, including conducting poly-
mers, redox mediators and metal nanoparticles [11-14].
Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) were another important
nanomaterial, and it had also been used in biosensor of
glucose [15,16], DNA [17], pesticides [18], and arsenic
(III) [19]. We have used Au NPs/CNTs composite film
modified electrode to detect Sal and target DNA [20,21]
and obtained good results. From our practical experiment,
we find the Au NPs/CNTs composite are good materials,
and hope to open more applied window. We want to
study medicament analysis based on this ideas. To our
knowledge, there was no report of VB6 detection based
on Au NPs and MWCNTs composite film modified elec-
In this work, Au NPs was electrodeposited on the sur-
face of the MWCNTs modified electrode, and the elec-
trochemical behavior of VB6 at this modified electrode
was investigated, the experiment results showed an oxi-
dation peak of VB6 was only observed in CVs and the
electrochemical response of VB6 was higher in contract
to MWCNTs or Au NPs modified electrode alone. Under
optimal experiment condition, the current intensity was
linear with the concentrations of VB6 in the range of 1.59
to 102.74 μg·mL–1 with a detection limit of 0.53 μg·mL–1
(S/N = 3). When the modified electrode was used to de-
tect VB6 in pharmaceutical preparations, a satisfied result
was obtained.
2. Experimental
2.1. Reagents
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes with carboxylic acid
groups (MWCNTs, with a diameter of about 30 nm and
length of around 30 μm, purity > 95%) were obtained
from Chengdu Institute of Organic chemistry, Chinese
Academy of Sciences. Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1 (VB1), Vi-
tamin B2 (VB2), Ascorbic acid (AA), and HAuCl4·4H2O
were obtained from Shanghai Chemical Reagent Co., Ltd
(China). The phosphate buffer solution (PBS, 0.10
mol·L –1) was prepared by NaH2PO4 and Na2HPO4, and
adjusted the pH with H3PO4 and NaOH solutions. All
chemicals were of analytical grade and used without fur-
ther purification. All solutions were prepared with twice-
quartz-distilled water.
2.2. Apparatus
Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and differential pulse voltam-
metry (DPV) were performed on a CHI 650C electro-
chemical workstation (Shanghai Chenhua Instruments
Co., China). The three-electrode system consisted of a
bare GCE or modified electrode as a working electrode,
a platinum wire as a counter electrode, and a saturated
calomel electrode (SCE) as a reference electrode. All
potentials given in this work were referenced to the SCE
reference electrode.
The morphologies of different modified electrodes
were obtained using a scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
with JEOL JSM-4800F microscopy (Hitachi, Japan).
2.3. Preparation of the Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE
The bare GCE was carefully polished sequentially with
0.3 and 0.05 m alumina slurries on microcloth pads
followed by rinsing successively in an ultrasonic bath
with acetone, absolute alcohol and twice-quartz-distilled
water for 3 min, respectively. Afterwards, the electrode
was electrochemically treated by cycling the potential
between 0.3 and + 1.5 V in 0.50 mol·L–1 H2 SO4 with a
scan rate of 100 mV·s–1 until a reproducible cyclic volt-
ammogram was observed, followed it is rinsed with
twice-quartz-distilled water thoroughly and dried in a
nitrogen stream.
5 µL of 1.0 mg·mL–1 MWCNTs suspensions (10.0 mg
of MWCNTs was dispersed in 10.0 mL of ethanol with
the help of ultrasonication) were dropped on the surface
of pretreated GCE, and then it was dried at room tem-
perature. The Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE was obtained by
immersing the MWCNTs/GCE into 0.10 mol·L–1 KNO3
solution containing 1 mmol·L–1 HAuCl4 and electrode-
posited 20 s at – 0.2 V (vs. SCE).
2.4. Procedure
The preparation of sample: 1.0 mL of injection (Henan
Topfond Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) was transferred to a
10.0 mL volumetric flask, diluted to the mark with twice-
quartz-distilled water. Next, 2.0 mL of solution above
was taken to 10.0 mL volumetric flask, diluted to the
mark with twice-quartz-distilled water.
The preparation of tablets: 20 tablets VB6 (Nanjing
Baijingyu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) were taken to grind
a fine powder. Next, a suitable amount powder (about
one tablet mount) was taken to be dissolved with twice-
quartz-distilled water, and it was then transferred to 50
mL volumetric flask, diluted to the mark with twice-
quartz-distilled water. Final, it was filtered to remove
infusible substance.
Electrochemical measurement: 5.0 mL of 0.10
mol·L –1 PBS containing a suitable amount of VB6 was
added to the 10.0 mL cell. Before experiment, the solu-
tion was purged with nitrogen for 10 minutes, and the
flow of nitrogen was maintained during the experiment.
In DPV measurements, the experiment parameters were
following: initial potential: 0.3 V; final potential: 0.9 V;
amplitude: 0.05 V; pulse width: 0.05 s; sample width:
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. SEM of the Different Modified Electrodes
Figure 1 displayed SEM morphologies of MWCNTs/
GCE (a) and Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE (b). It was ob-
served that the MWCNTs distributed uniformly on the
surface of GCE and Au NPs had been uniformly deco-
rated onto the surface of MWCNTs (Figure 1(b)). The
diameter of Au NPs was about 50 nm.
3.2. Electrochemical Behaviors of VB6 at Bare or
Modified Electrode
Electrochemical behaviors of VB6 at various modified
electrode in 0.10 mol·L–1 PBS were investigated by CV
technique. Figure 2 showed the CVs of VB6 at the bare
GCE, the Au NPs/GCE, the MWCNTs/GCE, and the Au
NPs/MWCNTs/GCE. For the bare GCE (Figure 2(a))
and Au NPs/GCE (Figure 2(b)), the responses of VB6
ere poor. When MWCNTs or Au NPs/MWCNTs was w
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJAC
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJAC
(a) (b)
Figure 1. SEM morphologies of MWCNTs/GCE (a) and Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE (b).
(a) (b)
Figure 2. Cyclic voltammograms of VB6 at GCE (a), Au NPs/GCE (b), MWCNTs/GCE (c) and Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE (d).
3.3. Optimization of the Experimental Conditions
modified on GCE (Figure 2(c)), the response of VB6
was enhanced; especially, the current intensity of VB6
was the highest at Au NPs/MWCNTs modified electrode
(Figure 2(d)). These facts might attribute to the syner-
gistic effect of Au NPs and MWCNTs. At the same time,
there was only an oxidation peak at +0.62 V and no re-
duction peak could be observed in CVs, indicting that the
electrode reaction of VB6 at the Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE
was irreversible.
3.3.1. The Effect of Deposition Time
In this work, Au NPs deposition time was optimized by
CV technique. The results were shown in Figure 3. As
can be seen, the current intensity increased rapidly with
the augment of the deposition time increased from 5 to
20 s. The maximum current intensity was observed when
the deposition time was 20 s. However, when the deposi-
tion times increased continuously, the current intensity
decreased gradually. Therefore, 20 s was chosen as de-
position time.
The effect of the scan rate on peak current of VB6 was
investigated at the Au NPs/MWCNTs/GCE, and the cur-
rent intensity was linearly increased with the square of
the scan rate, the linear regression equation was: I(μA) =
1.183 + 109.1υ1/2 (v/s) (r = 0.9992), indicating the elec-
trode reaction of VB6 at modified electrode was a diffu-
sion control process.
3.3.2. The Effect of pH
The effect of the solution pH on the electrochemical re-
sponse of VB6 was investigated. The results were shown
in Figure 4. As can be seen, the current intensity in-
Figure 3. The plots of the peak currents of VB6 vs electro-
deposition time of Au NPs, c = 30 μg·mL1.
Figure 4. The effect of pH on peak currents (a) and poten-
tial of VB6 (b). The pH value are 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 (from
a to e).
creased with solution pH from 5.0 - 7.0, then it decreased
when the pH was over 7.0. The maximum current inten-
sity was observed when pH was 7.0. The peak potential
was linearly shifted negatively with the augment of solu-
tion pH, indicating that protons had taken part in the
electrode reaction process of VB6. Therefore, pH 7.0 was
selected in all following experiments.
3.3.3. Calibration Curve
The calibration curve of VB6 detection was performed
with DPV technique. Under the optimized experimental
conditions, a series of different concentrations of VB6
were measured. The current intensity at + 0.62 V was
used to obtain the calibration curve. The results showed
that the current intensity was linear with the concentra-
tions of VB6 in the range of 1.59 to 102.74 μg·mL–1 as
shown in Figure 5. The linear regression equation was
Ipa (μA) = 0.2759 c + 0.7007 (C- μg·mL–1) (r = 0.9994)
with the detection limit of 0.53 μg·mL–1 (S/N = 3).
3.3.4. Stability and Reproducibility
The reproducibility of the modified electrode was inves-
tigated by successive measurements of 30 μg·mL–1 VB6
by DPV (n = 6), the obtained peak current value was
about the range of 8.79 to 9.24 μA with a relative stan-
dard deviation (RSD) of 2.05%. The stability of the
modified electrode was investigated after it was storage
in air for 2 weeks. The obtained peak currents were al-
most constant. Therefore, the modified electrode had a
good stability and reproducibility.
3.3.5. Interference Study
In these experiments, we investigated the interference of
several species on the determination of VB6, such as VB1,
VB2, AA, glucose, starch. The experiment results were
shown in Table 1, from Table 1, there were no interfer-
ences existed for the determination of 30 μg·mL–1 VB6 in
the presence of 20-fold VB1, a 50-fold VB2, 100-fold AA,
glucose and starch.
Figure 5. Differential pulse voltammograms of VB6 at the
modified electrode. The concentrations of VB6 (μg·mL1)
are: 1.59, 6.299, 9.375, 18.32, 22.64, 33.03, 40.31, 47.27,
60.93, 74.20, 90.28, 102.74.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. AJAC
3.3.6. Analytical Applications
In this work, the injection and tablet of VB6 were ana-
lyzed by the standard addition method. For comparison
purposes, the obtained results were compared with that
of China Pharmacopoeia Method [22] (shown in Tables
2, 3). From Table 2 and Table 3 we could observe that
the obtained values were agreement with the results
found by the China Pharmacopoeia Method.
4. Conclusions
The Au NPs/MWCNTs composite film modified elec-
trode showed a strong electrochemical response towards
VB6 in pH 7.0 and AA showed no interference during
VB6 detection. The modified electrode had been applied
in medication analysis, and obtained good results.
Table 1. The inference of coexistent substances.
Coexisting Currenta Multiple
amount Currentb Relative
substance μA(n = 3) added μA(n = 3) deviation %
Glucose 200.0 8.738 –2.39
Starch 200.0 8.821 –1.46
Ascorbic acid 8.952 100.0 8.708 –2.73
Vitamin B1 20.0 9.233 3.14
Vitamin B2 50.0 9.134 2.03
a. the average peak current of VB6. b. the average peak current of VB6 after
adding different coexisting substances.
Table 2. Results for the determination of VB6 in tablets.
This method Pharmacopeia method
mg per
tablet Found mg
per tablet
n = 5 (%) Found mg
per tablet
n = 5 (%)
1 10.0 9.95 3.3 9.96 1.1
2 10.0 9.89 3.4 9.85 0.9
3 10.0 9.82 2.8 9.85 0.8
The tables were obtained from Nanjing Baijinhyu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Table 3. Results for the determination of VB6 in injections.
This method Pharmacopeia method
Sample Labeled
mg· mL –1 Found
mg· mL –1
n = 5 (%) Found
mg· mL –1
n = 5 (%)
1 50.0 50.4 1.7 50.1 0.9
2 50.0 49.5 2.4 49.3 0.6
3 50.0 49.3 3.2 49.2 0.5
4 50.0 50.2 1.9 50.1 0.9
5 50.0 49.7 2.7 49.9 0.8
The injections were obtained from Henan Topfond Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
5. Acknowledgements
This project was financially supported by the Nature
Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No. 20675002).
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