Binding Be Brightly

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Science  30 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5684, pp. 577
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5684.577b

The production of beryllium (Be) materials, such as alloys and components in neutron moderators, requires constant environmental monitoring because Be is highly toxic. Detection is currently achieved with large instruments, either by atomic emission or mass spectrometry, and hence portable analytics and biological studies depend on the development of selective fluorescent chelating ligands.

Unlike Mg or Ca, Be exists in aqueous solution as polynuclear complexes, such as Be3(OH)3. Keizer et al. explored using two bridging ligands to bind this polynuclear motif, specifically 2-hydroxyisophthalic acid and 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHPA). The addition of Be at a pH of 7 causes a sharp increase in the intensity of fluorescence emission for DHPA, even in a background that contains aluminum and iron, both of which can interfere strongly with indicators that bind Be as a mononuclear species. A 10 μM solution of DHBA can be used to detect 50 nM Be (4.5 pg per ml). — PDS

J. Am. Chem. Soc.10.1021/ja047637t (2004).

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