Although various phase transfer techniques have been used to make hydrophobic nanoparticles (NPs) watersoluble. However, these techniques have been limited by inefficient surface modification strategy that often stable NPs in aqueous solutions. Herein, we report the use of 3-aminophenylboronic acid (3-APBA) as a hydrophilic ligand for phase transfer of oleylamine (OA) capped Au NPs (OA@Au NPs) from non-hydrolytic system into aqueous solutions. The 3-APBA capped Au NPs (3-APBA@Au NPs) was mainly characterized using different analytical techniques to substantiate the efficiency of the phase transfer procedure. In this simple procedure, 3APBA molecule was simultaneously used as both phase transfer and targeting ligand for bacteria recognition in one step. In principle, while free electron pair of amin (:NH2) group of 3-APBAbind to surface of hydrophobic Au NPs for phase transfer, diol group can bind to glycan on the membrane of Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) through proper cis-diol configuration. In addition, the resulting 3APBA@Au NP can effectively catalyze the reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) to 4-aminophenol (4-AP) in the presence of sodium borohydride (NaBH4) in aqueous solution.