Water-compatible Molecularly Imprinted Polymers
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are tailor-made synthetic receptors with high affinity and selectivity toward target analytes. They have proven to be promising substitutes for biological receptors because of their high molecular recognition ability, stability, ease of preparation, and low cost. Despite tremendous progress made in the development of various MIPs in the past four decades, the design of MIPs that are capable of directly and selectively recognizing small organic molecules in complex aqueous solutions (in particular in real, undiluted biological samples) has been a long-standing challenge, which significantly limited the practical applications of the MIPs in many bioanalytical and biomedical areas, including food safety control, environmental monitoring, and clinical diagnostics. Over the past two decades, much effort has been devoted to addressing this issue. This book chapter presents an overview of the advances made in the development of water-compatible MIPs, with an emphasis being mainly focused on those achieved in our laboratory.