Issue 4, 2017

Long-term stability and reusability of molecularly imprinted polymers


Molecularly imprinted materials are man-made mimics of biological receptors. Their polymer network has recognition sites complementary to a substrate in terms of size, shape and chemical functionality. They have diverse applications in various chemical, biomedical and engineering fields such as solid phase extraction, catalysis, drug delivery, pharmaceutical purification, (bio)sensors, water treatment, membrane separations and proteomics. The stability and reusability of molecularly imprinted polymers (IPs) have crucial roles in developing applications that are reliable, economic and sustainable. In the present article the effect of crosslinkers, functional monomers and conditions for template extraction on the long-term stability and reusability of IPs was systematically investigated. Adsorption capacity, selectivity, morphology and thermal decomposition of eleven different L-phenylalanine methyl ester imprinted polymers were studied to reveal performance loss over 100 adsorption–regeneration cycles. Furthermore, crosslinker and functional monomer specific reversible and irreversible decomposition of imprinted polymers as a result of adsorbent regeneration were investigated through adsorption studies, electron microscopy, N2 adsorption and thermogravimetric analysis. A decomposition mechanism was proposed and revealed using NMR spectroscopy. Solutions to avoid or overcome the limitations of the most common crosslinkers, functional monomers and extraction techniques were proposed and experimentally validated.

Graphical abstract: Long-term stability and reusability of molecularly imprinted polymers

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
21 Oct 2016
23 Nov 2016
First published
24 Nov 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Polym. Chem., 2017,8, 666-673

Long-term stability and reusability of molecularly imprinted polymers

J. Kupai, M. Razali, S. Buyuktiryaki, R. Kecili and G. Szekely, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 666 DOI: 10.1039/C6PY01853J

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity