Selective sensing of saccharides using simple boronic acids and their aggregates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Xin Wu
  • Zhao Li
  • Xuan-Xuan Chen
  • Yun-Bao Jiang

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Chemistry, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, MOE Key Laboratory of Analytical Sciences, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials (iChEM), Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China.


The reversible boronic acid-diol interaction empowers boronic acid receptors' saccharide binding capacities, rendering them a class of lectin mimetic, termed "boronlectins". Boronic acids follow lectin functions not just in being able to bind saccharides, but in multivalent saccharide binding that enhances both affinity and selectivity. For almost a decade, efforts have been made to achieve and improve selectivity for given saccharide targets, most notably glucose, by using properly positioned boronic acids, offering multivalent interactions. Incorporation of several boronic acid groups into a covalent framework or non-covalent assembly of boronic acid are two general methods used to create such smart sensors, of which the latter resembles lectin oligomerisation that affords multivalent saccharide-binding architectures. In this review, we discuss supramolecular selective sensing of saccharides by using simple boronic acids in their aggregate forms, after a brief survey of the general aspects of boronic acid-based saccharide sensing.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8032-48
Number of pages17
JournalChemical Society Reviews
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2013


  • Animals, Boronic Acids, Carbohydrates, Chemistry Techniques, Analytical, Clinical Chemistry Tests, Humans