Ethane-Bridged Bisporphyrin Conformational Changes As an Effective Analytical Tool for Nonenzymatic Detection of Urea in the Physiological Range

Conformational switching induced in ethane-bridged bisporphyrins was used as a sensitive transduction method for revealing the presence of urea dissolved in water via nonenzymatic approach. Bisporphyrins were deposited on solid quartz slides by means of the spin-coating method. Molecular conformations of Zn and Ni monometalated bis-porphyrins were influenced by water solvated urea molecules and their fluorescence emission was modulated by the urea concentration. Absorption, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopies allowed the identification of supramolecular processes, which are responsible for host–guest interaction between the active layers and urea molecules. A high selectivity of the sensing mechanism was highlighted upon testing the spectroscopic responses of bis-porphyrin films to citrulline and glutamine used as interfering agents. Additionally, potential applicability was demonstrated by quantifying the urea concentration in real physiological samples proposing this new approach as a valuable alternative analytical procedure to the traditionally used enzymatic methods.