Insight into the esterase like activity demonstrated by an imidazole appended self-assembling hydrogelator†
A low molecular weight hydrogelator with a covalently appended imidazole moiety is reported. Capable of percolating water in the pH range of 6 to 8, it proves to be an efficient catalyst upon self-assembly, showing Michaelis–Menten type kinetics. Activities at different pH values correlated with dramatic structural changes were observed. It can hydrolyse p-nitrophenyl acetate (pNPA) as well as inactivated esters, and L and D-phenylalanine methyl esters. The enhanced activity can be related to the conglomeration of catalytic groups upon aggregation resulting in their close proximity and the formation of hydrophobic pockets.