A Versatile and Highly Selective Colorimetric Sensor for the Detection of Amines

Diaz, Y. J., Page, Z. A., Knight, A. S., Treat, N. J., Hemmer, J. R., Hawker, C. J., Read de Alaniz, J.
Chem. Eur. J.
23,3562 –3566

The utility of Meldrum's activated furan (MAF) for the colorimetric detection of sub ppm levels of amines in solution, on solid supports, and as vapors is reported. MAF is synthesized in one step from inexpensive and commercially available starting materials and exhibits high selectivity for primary and secondary amines in the presence of competing nucleophiles. The reaction between activated furans and amines results in a distinct color change, discernable by the naked eye. UV/Vis absorption spectroscopy was utilized to monitor reactions in solution and determine detection limits. Additionally, solutions of MAF were useful as stains for thin layer chromatography and for monitoring solid-phase synthesis of peptides and peptidomimetics. Finally, MAF was used to detect volatile amines released from fish samples, demonstrating potential for food spoilage applications.