Background: Amino acids are crucially involved in a myriad of biological processes.
Any aberrant changes in physiological level of amino acids often manifest in common
metabolic disorders, serious neurological conditions and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, devising
methods for detection of trace amounts of amino acids becomes highly elemental to their
efficient clinical diagnosis. Recently, the domain of developing optical sensors for detection of
amino acids has witnessed significant activity which is the focus of the current review article.
Methods: We undertook a detailed search of the peer-reviewed literature that primarily deals
with optical sensors for amino acids and focuses on the use of different type of materials as a
Results: Ninety-five papers have been included in the review, majority of which deal with optical
sensors. We attempt to systematically classify these contributions based on the applications
of various chemical and biological scaffolds such as polymers, supramolecular assemblies,
nanoparticles, DNA, heparin etc for the sensing of amino acids. This review identifies
that supramolecular assemblies and nanomaterial continue to be commonly used platforms to
devise sensors for amino acids followed by surfactant assemblies.
Conclusion: The broad implications of amino acids in human health and diagnosis have
stirred a lot of interest to develop optimized optical detection systems for amino acids in recent
years, using different materials based on chemical and biological scaffolds. We have also attempted
to highlight the merits and demerits of some of the noteworthy sensor systems to instigate
further efforts for constructing amino acids sensor based on unconventional concepts.