Enrico Dalcanale, from the University of Parma, will deliver a seminar entitled, "Environmental and Biological Sensing with Cavitands." Hosted by Jim Canary.
For more information about Enrico Dalcanale, click here.
Abstract: Chemical sensing represents one of the key enabling technologies which will deeply impact our society, because of its foremost relevance in point-of-care diagnostics, environmental monitoring, industrial quality control and security. The major hurdle to overcome for the full exploitation of chemical sensing is the lack of selectivity in the currently available technologies, which leads to an unacceptable frequency of false positive and false negative responses. The exploitation of molecular receptors as sensing materials is particularly attractive to address the selectivity issue. The progress made in designing synthetic receptors enables the modulation of the sensor selectivity towards different classes of compounds by mastering the weak interactions occurring between the sensing material and the analytes. In this seminar the following cases will be discussed, which have in common the use of cavitands as receptors: Benzene sensing in air: The detection of benzene in air is a long standing problem, due to the concurrent requirements of high selectivity (presence of overwhelming amounts of other aromatic and aliphatic VOC) and extreme sensitivity (5μg/m 3 is the present limit value for benzene in air in EU). The issue of achieving at the same time molecular-level selectivity and low-ppb sensitivity for benzene has been solved by disconnecting the recognition element from the detection unit. The recognition event is assigned to a quinoxaline cavitand receptor (QxCav), capable of selectively trapping aromatic vapors at the gas–solid interface. The selective concentration component is embedded in a micromachined miniaturized sensor equipped with a PID detector, which is currently on the market. A new generation of QxCav receptor will be presented, capable of extremely efficient BTEX trapping and selective thermal release of benzene, leading to ppb level quantification of benzene in air. N-methylated amino acid sensing in water and biological fluids: Based on our recent results in the specific detection of N-methylated amino acids in water, sarcosine in urine (biomarker of aggressive forms of prostate cancer) and designer drugs we studied tetraphosphonate cavitands and cucurbiturils as selective ligands for the detection of lysine methylation in proteins.[8,9] Histone proteins have positively charged amino-terminal tails that are exposed on the outside of nucleosomes. These tails are subject to several post-translational covalent modifications, including methylation. Lysine mono and demethylation recognition is important, given the prevalent roles of the corresponding histones in the regulation of genes expression.
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