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Determination of N-acetyl-L-cysteine and glutathione by the colorimetric method with the use of a smartphone as a detector

Anita Martinović Bevanda, Anamarija Arapović, Matej Vasilj, Ante Pušić, Stanislava Talić, and Anita Ivanković

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Education, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina



Received: 31 August 2023  Accepted: 23 February 2024


This paper describes a new smartphone-based colorimetric method for the determination of N-acetyl-L-cysteine and glutathione using a reaction with the Cu(II)–neocuproine complex. The reaction resulted in the formation of a yellow Cu(I)–neocuproine complex. Reaction solutions, prepared according to the selected optimal conditions, are placed in front of a light blue background, and a smartphone camera is used for digital image acquisition. The intensity of the blue RGB canal was selected for analytical response and determined using the free Color Grab mobile app. Also, absorbance at a wavelength of 450 nm was measured for all reaction solutions using a UV–Vis spectrophotometer. The proposed procedures allow the determination of both thiols in the linear dynamic range from 3.0 × 10–6 to 2.0 × 10–4 mol L−1 for a spectrophotometer as a detector, or from 6.0 × 10–6 to 2.0 × 10–4 mol L−1 for a smartphone as a detector. The obtained results indicate that the proposed method is accurate, simple, cost-effective, and applicable to the determination of thiols in pharmaceuticals.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Smartphone-based analysis; Spectrophotometry; RGB; Cu(II)–neocuproine; Thiols; Pharmaceuticals

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-024-03386-6


Chemical Papers 78 (7) 4261–4268 (2024)

Monday, June 17, 2024

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