Optical sensor: a promising strategy for environmental and biomedical monitoring of ionic species
Considerable amount of research has been carried out on designing and improving metal-recognition methodologies in environmental and biological media. The development of fluorescent-based techniques has proven to be an important milestone for non-invasive metal detection and quantification in a multichannel environment. Metals as natural components of the Earth's crust are generally present in trace concentrations in environmental samples, wherein humic substances have a complexation affinity toward them. Iron, zinc and copper are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd most abundant elements that are indispensable to the human body in trace amounts as they play crucial roles in many biological processes. However, unregulated amounts either an excess or deficiency may exacerbate deterioration of the vital organs and trigger the progression of complications. In addition to these three essential elements, mercury is widely considered to be one of the most hazardous pollutants and highly dangerous elements due to its recognized accumulative and toxic effects in the environment and in biological media. In the present study, we attempted to summarize all the recently developed fluorescent signaling materials for the detection of Cu2+, Fe2+/Fe3+, Zn2+ and Hg2+. The spectral shifts in the molecules on metal chelation, the mode of complexation and the stoichiometries of the resulting adducts have been discussed in detail. Furthermore, we highlight molecules that have been reported as an intracellular metal detector via bioimaging, which can be useful for the future design and development of cell-viable and membrane-permeable molecular probes.