Molecular boronic acid-based saccharide sensors

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Boronic acids can reversibly bind diols, a molecular feature that is ubiquitous within saccharides, leading to their use in the design and implementation of sensors for numerous saccharide species. There is a growing understanding of the importance of saccharides in many biological processes and systems; while saccharide or carbohydrate sensing in medicine is most often associated with detection of glucose in diabetes patients, saccharides have proven to be relevant in a range of disease states. Herein the relevance of carbohydrate sensing for biomedical applications is explored, and this review seeks to outline how the complexity of saccharides presents a challenge for the development of selective sensors and describes efforts that have been made to understand the underpinning fluorescence and binding mechanisms of these systems, before outlining examples of how researchers have used this knowledge to develop ever more selective receptors.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1508–1528
Number of pages21
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number4
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021


  • carbohydrate, fluorescence, electrochemical, colorimetric, diabetes, biomarker, boronic acids, hydrogels, glucose