Urine and blood contain urea compounds that are essential indicators of liver and kidney conditions in the human body. These compounds are valuable for diagnosing various diseases and conditions, such as dyspepsia, gastric issues, kidney function, and dehydration.
Several methods have been used to analyze urea content, including chromatography combined with mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and infrared spectroscopy.
Many methods can be applied to analyze urea compounds, but these often require expensive equipment and complex procedures. Despite this, technological advancements have made it easier to analyze urea content in urine, one of which is by using natural material-based sensors.
“Urea detection sensors typically use the reagent para-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde (pDMAB), a hazardous compound. Therefore, there’s a need for alternative reagents that can be used for urea sensors to make them safer,” explained Adyatma Bhagaskara on Wednesday (October 18).
Together with four other UGM Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences students, Mefi Nur Fadzila, Gavriel Hagai Paulus Sumlang, Sabrina Gita Pramesti, and Nur Azis, he explored the potential of clove oil as a urea sensor material.
They are part of the Student Creativity Program team from UGM working in Exact Sciences Research under the guidance of Professor Jumina. Their research is titled “Synthesis of Eugenol Compound Derivatives from Clove Oil as a Urea in Urine Sensor Material.”
The team used clove eugenol compound derivatives in this study, then synthesized them into vanillin as an environmentally friendly urea sensor base. This approach is expected to produce a safe urea sensor material.
Adyatma Bhagaskara explained that urea was determined using spectrophotometry, a colorimetric method. This method is believed to detect urea through color changes.
“We looked at the potential of clove oil because it contains a significant amount of eugenol compounds, up to 95%,” he said.
He added that Eugenol is a precursor for the synthesis of vanillin compounds, similar to para-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde (pDMAB), and can be used as a urea sensor. When vanillin reacts with urea, it forms a urea-vanillin complex that changes color to yellowish-green.
In his explanation, Bhagaskara added that the research team formulated the urea sensor using vanillin in a compatible ethanol solvent under basic conditions, which was then applied by spraying.
The study revealed that vanillin could be used as a urea sensor and required fewer quantities than the pDMAB reagent.
The team then promoted their discovery on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
As the team leader, Bhagaskara hopes this research idea will lead to future applications of natural material-based sensors.
Developing such sensors involving abundant and inexpensive clove oil could also address the issue of environmentally unfriendly reagents.
Author: Agung Nugroho