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Reported herein is the sensitive and selective cyclodextrin-promoted fluorescence detection of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and cumene (BTEXC) fuel components in contaminated snow samples collected from several locations in the state of Rhode Island. This detection method uses cyclodextrin as a supramolecular scaffold to promote analyte-specific, proximity-induced fluorescence modulation of a high-quantum-yield fluorophore, which leads to unique fluorescence responses for each cyclodextrin-analyte-fluorophore combination investigated and enables unique pattern identifiers for each analyte using linear discriminant analysis (LDA). This detection method operates with high levels of sensitivity (sub-micromolar detection limits), selectivity (100% differentiation between structurally similar compounds, such as ortho-, meta-, and para-xylene isomers), and broad applicability (for different snow samples with varying chemical composition, pH, and electrical conductivity). The high selectivity, sensitivity, and broad applicability of this method indicate significant potential in the development of practical detection devices for aromatic toxicants in complex environments.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.