Electrochemical biosensors based on ferroceneboronic acid and its derivatives: A review

Baozhen Wang, Shigehiro Takahashi, Xiaoyan Du, Jun Ichi Anzai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We review recent progress in the development of electrochemical biosensors based on ferroceneboronic acid (FcBA) and ferrocene (Fc)-modified boronic acids. These compounds can be used to construct electrochemical biosensors because they consist of a binding site (i.e., a boronic acid moiety) and an electrochemically active part (i.e., an Fc residue). By taking advantage of the unique properties of FcBA and its derivatives, electrochemical sensors sensitive to sugars, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fluoride (F-) ions, and so forth have been widely studied. FcBA-based sugar sensors rely on the selective binding of FcBA to 1,2- or 1,3-diol residues of sugars through the formation of cyclic boronate ester bonds. The redox properties of FcBA-sugar adduct differ from those of free FcBA, which forms the basis of the electrochemical determination of sugars. Thus, non-enzymatic glucose sensors are now being actively studied using FcBA and Fc-modified boronic acids as redox markers. Using a similar principle, HbA1c can be detected by FcBA-based electrochemical systems because it contains hydrocarbon chains on the polypeptide chain. HbA1c sensors are useful for monitoring blood glucose levels over the preceding 8-12 weeks. In addition, FcBA and Fc-modified boronic acids have been used for the detection of F- ions due to the selective binding of boronic acid to F- ions. F--ion sensors may be useful alternatives to conventional ion-selective electrodes sensitive to F- ion. Furthermore, FcBA derivatives have been studied to construct lectin; steroids; nucleotides; salicylic acid; and bacteria sensors. One of the limitations of FcBA-based sensors comes from the fact that FcBA derivatives are added in sample solutions as reagents. FcBA derivatives should be immobilized on the surface of electrodes for developing reagentless sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-256
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Electrochemical sensor
  • Ferrocene-modified boronic acid
  • Ferroceneboronic acid
  • Glucose sensor
  • HbA1c sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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