There remains a need in clinics and research to have simple and sensitive detection systems that allow the detection and quantification of sugar markers of biomedical relevance such as sugars lactulose and mannitol for noninvasive gut permeability assessment. We have prepared a new class of boronic acid-appended naphthyl-pyridinium receptor compounds as chemosensors. These were studied for their ability to act as modular internal charge transfer (ICT) fluorescent probes or donor/acceptor pair ensembles where the receptor compound can act as a quencher for an anionic dye. As an ICT sensor, fluorescence intensity increased upon diol recognition, which stems from the neutralization of the pyridinium nitrogen that is perturbing the chromophoric properties. We found these ICT probes provide good sensitivity for disaccharide lactulose with low micromolar detection and quantification limits. In addition, their ability to form a non-fluorescent ground state complex with anionic reporter dyes, such as HPTS or TSPP, was examined as probes for various sugars. We have identified three receptor/quencher compounds with high quenching efficiency for anionic dyes. Subsequently, a range of sugars and sugar derivatives were tested for chemosenstivity of our probes. This study illustrates an approach for designing boronic acid-based chemoreceptors for the recognition and quantification of sugars and sugar derivatives.
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