European Journal of Chemistry 2018, 9(4), 338-346 | doi: | Get rights and content

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Selective colorimetric molecular probe for cyanide ion detection in aqueous solution

Yousef Mohammad Hijji (1,*) orcid , Hani Darwish Tabba (2) orcid , Rajeesha Rajan (3) orcid , Hamzeh Mohammad Abdel-Halim (4) orcid , Musa Ibrahim El-Barghouthi (5) orcid , Hutaf Mustafa Baker (6) orcid

(1) Department of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, 2713, Qatar
(2) Department of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, 2713, Qatar
(3) Department of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, 2713, Qatar
(4) Department of Chemistry, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13133, Jordan
(5) Department of Chemistry, The Hashemite University, Zarqa 13133, Jordan
(6) Department of Chemistry, Al Al-Bayt University, Mafraq 25113, Jordan
(*) Corresponding Author

Received: 28 Jul 2018 | Revised: 08 Sep 2018 | Accepted: 12 Sep 2018 | Published: 31 Dec 2018 | Issue Date: December 2018


5-Nitro-2-hydroxybenzaldehyde (1) demonstrated to be a sensitive, and a selective molecular probe for cyanide ion (CN-) in aqueous media. In acetonitrile, compound 1 shows sensitivity and selectivity for cyanide, acetate and fluoride, in comparison to other investigated anions using both visual and spectroscopic means. In aqueous solution, the color becomes intense yellow upon addition of cyanide, while acetate showed this effect to a much lower extent. Significant spectral changes were also detected with the appearance of two new absorption bands at 358 and 387 nm. This was accompanied by concomitant intensity decrease for the band at 314 nm. Fluoride, dihydrogen phosphate, chloride, bromide, perchlorate, and azide showed negligible color and spectral changes for the probe in aqueous solutions. On the other hand, hydrogen sulfate caused fainting of the yellow color and gave a spectrum similar to that of the sensor in polar aprotic solvents. The cyanide ion was detected at micro molar levels in aqueous solutions with a stoichiometry of 1:1 for CN: probe in acetonitrile as the solvent. Cyanide, hydroxide, acetate, fluoride and dihydrogen phosphate showed identical changes to color and spectra, indicating a hydrogen bonding and a deprotonation mechanism.


DFT; Cyanide; Cyanohydrin; UV-vis spectroscopy; Visual molecular probe; 5-Nitro-2-hydroxybenzaldehyde

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DOI: 10.5155/eurjchem.9.4.338-346.1777

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Funding information

National Priority Research Program (NPRP) award [NPRP-7-495-01-094] from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of The Qatar Foundation), Qatar



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How to cite

Hijji, Y.; Tabba, H.; Rajan, R.; Abdel-Halim, H.; El-Barghouthi, M.; Baker, H. Eur. J. Chem. 2018, 9(4), 338-346. doi:10.5155/eurjchem.9.4.338-346.1777
Hijji, Y.; Tabba, H.; Rajan, R.; Abdel-Halim, H.; El-Barghouthi, M.; Baker, H. Selective colorimetric molecular probe for cyanide ion detection in aqueous solution. Eur. J. Chem. 2018, 9(4), 338-346. doi:10.5155/eurjchem.9.4.338-346.1777
Hijji, Y., Tabba, H., Rajan, R., Abdel-Halim, H., El-Barghouthi, M., & Baker, H. (2018). Selective colorimetric molecular probe for cyanide ion detection in aqueous solution. European Journal of Chemistry, 9(4), 338-346. doi:10.5155/eurjchem.9.4.338-346.1777
Hijji, Yousef, Hani Darwish Tabba, Rajeesha Rajan, Hamzeh Mohammad Abdel-Halim, Musa Ibrahim El-Barghouthi, & Hutaf Mustafa Baker. "Selective colorimetric molecular probe for cyanide ion detection in aqueous solution." European Journal of Chemistry [Online], 9.4 (2018): 338-346. Web. 28 May. 2022
Hijji, Yousef, Tabba, Hani, Rajan, Rajeesha, Abdel-Halim, Hamzeh, El-Barghouthi, Musa, AND Baker, Hutaf. "Selective colorimetric molecular probe for cyanide ion detection in aqueous solution" European Journal of Chemistry [Online], Volume 9 Number 4 (31 December 2018)

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