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Ground water concentration of atrazine has increased due to run-off from farms employing this common herbicide. This is of concern because atrazine has been shown to function as an endocrine disruptor. Fluorophores are commonly used as chemical tools for the purposes of molecular tagging and analyte detection. Advantages of these types of probes are high sensitivity and selectivity, owing to the tunability of the fluorophore scaffold. Through modification of the fluorophores structure the sensitivity and selectivity of the probe can be customized. The developed fluorophore can potentially be translated into means of portable detection. This research focuses on reacting photo-induced electron transfer (PET) dependent fluorophore probes with atrazine to detect the presence of triazine family herbicides. Detection of these herbicides is postulated to occur through a change in fluorescence occurring from the blocking of PET. Currently, this study is using 1-napthylmethylamine and benzylamine as the ‘proof-of-principle’ fluorophores, as well as pursuing aminomethyl-functionalized coumarins. Synthetic targets include dimethoxy, halogenated and hydroxyl coumarins. Preliminary results indicate that a reaction between atrazine and the fluorophore can occur, and future work will endeavor to characterize the photophysical properties of both the fluorophore and the coupled product.
Druker, Gunther S., "Development of a Reaction Based Chemical Sensor for the Detection of Atrazine" (2017). Chemistry Summer Fellows. 14.