Protein discrimination using erythrosin B-based GUMBOS in combination with UV–Vis spectroscopy and chemometrics

Ana M.O. Azevedo, Clara Sousa*, Mi Chen, Caitlan E. Ayala, Rocío L. Pérez, João L. M. Santos, Isiah M. Warner, M. Lúcia M. F. S. Saraiva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


GUMBOS (Group of Uniform Materials Based on Organic Salts) have recently emerged as interesting materials for protein analysis due to their unique features and high tunability. In this regard, four novel erythrosin B (EB)-based GUMBOS were synthesized and their potential to discriminate among proteins with distinct properties (e.g., size, charge, and hydrophobicity) was assessed. These solid-phase materials were prepared using a single-step metathesis reaction between EB and various phosphonium and ammonium cations, namely tetrabutylphosphonium (P4444+), tributylhexadecylphosphonium (P44416+), tetrabutylammonium (N4444+), and benzyldimethylhexadecylammonium (BDHA+). Subsequently, the effect of pH (3.0, 4.5, and 6.0) and reaction time (5, 10, and 15 min) on the discriminatory power of synthesized GUMBOS was evaluated. Absorption spectra resulting from the interaction between EB-based GUMBOS and proteins were analyzed using partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLSDA). Unlike time, the pH value was determined to have influence over GUMBOS discrimination potential. Correct protein assignments varied from 86.5% to 100.0%, and the best discriminatory results were observed for [P4444]2[EB] and [N4444]2[EB] at pH 6.0. Additionally, these two GUMBOS allowed discrimination of protein mixtures containing different ratios of albumin and myoglobin, which appeared as individualized clusters in the PLSDA scores plots. Overall, this study showcases EB-based GUMBOS as simple synthetic targets to provide a label-free, cost-effective, rapid, and successful approach for discrimination of single proteins and their mixtures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123164
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Erythrosin B
  • Protein discrimination


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