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 sensing platform.
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.