Liquid-liquid extraction of succinate using a dicopper cryptate

The extraction of the succinate dianion from a neutral aqueous solution into dichloromethane is obtained using a lipophilic cage-like dicopper(II) complex as the extractant. The quantitative extraction exploits the high affinity of the succinate anion for the cavity of the azacryptate. The anion is effectively transferred from the aqueous phase, buffered at pH 7 with HEPES, into dichloromethane. A 1:1 extractant:anion adduct is obtained. Extraction can be easily monitored by following changes in the UV-visible spectrum of the dicopper complex in dichloromethane, and by measuring the residual concentration of succinate in the aqueous phase by HPLC−UV. Considering i) the relevance of polycarboxylates in biochemistry, as e.g. normal intermediates of the TCA cycle, ii) the relevance of dicarboxylates in the environmental field, as e.g. waste products of industrial processes, and iii) the recently discovered role of succinate and other dicarboxylates in pathophysiological processes including cancer, our results open new perspectives for research in all contexts where selective recognition, trapping and extraction of polycarboxylates is required.