We have developed a highly selective sensitive fluorescent detection of acetylcholine (ACh) using bovine serum albumin (BSA) protected atomically precise clusters of gold. The gold quantum clusters (AuQC@BSA) synthesized using bovine serum albumin and conjugated with acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme specific for acetylcholine, resulting in AuQC@BSA-AChE. The enzyme, AChE hydrolyzes acetylcholine (ACh) to choline (Ch) which in turn interacts with AuQC@BSA-AChE and quenches its fluorescence, enabling sensing. We have carried out the real time monitoring of the hydrolysis of ACh using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI MS) to find out the mechanism of fluorescent quenching. The validity of present method for determination of concentration of acetylcholine in real system such as blood was demonstrated. Further, the sensor, AuQC@BSA-AChE can be easily coated on paper and an efficient and cheap sensor can be developed and detection limit for ACh is found to be 10 nM. The fluorescent intensity of AuQC@BSA-AChE is sensitive towards acetylcholine in range of 10 nM to 6.4 μM. This suggests that AuQC@BSA-AChE has an excellent potential to be used for diagnosis of various neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric disorders. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.