The scope of the presented research orientates itself towards the development of a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP)-based dye displacement assay for the colorimetric detection of the antibiotic amoxicillin in aqueous medium. With this in mind, the initial development of an MIP capable of such a task sets focus on monolithic bulk polymerization to assess monomer/crosslinker combinations that have potential towards the binding of amoxicillin. The best performing composition (based on specificity and binding capacity) is utilized in the synthesis of MIP particles by emulsion polymerization, yielding particles that prove to be more homogenous in size and morphology compared to that of the crushed monolithic MIP, which is an essential trait when it comes to the accuracy of the resulting assay. The specificity and selectivity of the emulsion MIP proceeds to be highlighted, demonstrating a higher affinity towards amoxicillin compared to other compounds of the aminopenicillin class (ampicillin and cloxacillin). Conversion of the polymeric receptor is then undertaken, identifying a suitable dye for the displacement assay by means of binding experiments with malachite green, crystal violet, and mordant orange. Once identified, the optimal dye is then loaded onto the synthetic receptor, and the displaceability of the dye deduced by means of a dose response experiment. Alongside the sensitivity, the selectivity of the assay is scrutinized against cloxacillin and ampicillin. Yielding a dye displacement assay that can be used (semi-)quantitatively in a rapid manner.
- SELECTIVE ADSORPTION
- colorimetric sensor
- displacement assay
- emulsion polymerization
- molecularly imprinted polymers