Molecularly Imprinted Polymers-based Sensing in Food Safety and Quality Analysis
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are synthesized towards the target molecules utilizing interactions between template and functional monomers to impress complementary binding sites into or onto polymers. Three major methods can be developed to prepare MIPs, including covalent, non-covalent and semi-covalent imprinting approaches. Due to their excellent properties of pre-designed target selectivity and outstanding stability, MIPs are regarded as a suitable molecular recognition element to replace the currently used bio-materials. There has been increasing interest in using MIPs-based sensors for food safety and quality sensing based upon sensitive and accurate detection of target analytes. We provide a critical review on MIPs-based sensors and their applications in food safety and quality analysis. Due to a wide variety of sensing principles, the sensors are divided into different groups, including electrochemical sensors, quartz crystal microbalance sensors, fluorescence sensors, surface enhanced Raman scattering sensors, surface plasmon resonance sensors and MIPs-based enzyme-linked immunoassays. The critical parameters, such as sensing principle, sensor design, material preparation process and sensing experiment, are summarized and discussed. The increased accuracy and effectiveness have made MIPs a promising sensing material for extensive use in the food industry.