Boric acid: a simple molecule of physiologic, therapeutic and prebiotic significance

Zumreoglu-Karan B., Kose D. A.

PURE AND APPLIED CHEMISTRY, vol.87, no.2, pp.155-162, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 87 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/pac-2014-0909
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.155-162
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Boric acid, H3BO3, is a weak acid and at physiological pH is in the form of an uncharged small molecule. Behaving as a Lewis acid, it forms complexes with amino-and hydroxy acids, carbohydrates, nucleotides and vitamins through electron donor-acceptor interactions. These interactions are believed to be beneficial for human health. Synthetic bis-chelate complexes of boric acid with organic biomolecules are therefore considered for nutritional and/or pharmaceutical applications. The use of boric acid for BNCT has gained attention due to the short biological half-life, solubility, plasma circulation and the non-selective soft tissue accumulation properties of this simple molecule. Complexation of boric acid with sugars is of particular importance in understanding the role of boron as a carrier for nucleotides and carbohydrates. A potential and catalytic role of boric acid in peptide and nucleic acid synthesis and in the stabilization of sugar molecules by acting as a complexing agent have been demonstrated. Its possible role as a phosphorylation chaperone in a prebiotic world has been recently suggested. This contribution reviews the highlights in the physiologic, therapeutic and prebiotic significance of boric acid in the last decade.