Diacetylferrocene As a DNA Hybridization Label

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Ferrocene is an important substance, with a long history in the material science and chemical sensing fields, among others. It is a relatively nonpolar compound, and can be used in asymmetric catalysis. It also has a unique electrochemical property, which enables it to be an ideal candidate for a DNA hybridization label. There are numerous applications for this substance, ranging from the obvious (asymmetric catalysis) to the obscure (antitumor agents). Some of its derivatives have shown biological activity, and some have been even synthesized in reasonable yields. These include hexa(ferrocenyl)benzene, and the acetyl variant. Among its uses are as a redox mediator for enzyme sensors, as an antitumor agent, and as a molecule able to decode a sequence of DNA molecules, thus allowing for efficient DNA hybridization.

The most practical ferrocene application is in the area of catalysis. Ferrocene derivatives have been used in the production of topoisomerase IIb inhibitors, as well as in the aforementioned DNA hybridization applications. In addition, it has been demonstrated to be an efficient redox mediator for enzyme sensors. In this regard, it is a good candidate for a nucleic acid biosensor, albeit one with some room for improvement. This may be due to its ionic nature. A suitable framework, which would allow for its construction, would be hexasubstituted benzene.

Several companies have produced ferrocene derivatives in varying degrees of success. Astruc offers compounds such as hexa(ferrocenyl)benzene, while American Elements has produced a plethora of standard and specialty grades.

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