In this work, a novel detection assay for the new psychoactive substance (NPS) 2-methoxiphenidine (2-MXP) and other diarylethylamines is introduced. The assay is based on the competitive displacement of dye molecules from molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) by the target molecule. The assay was fully characterized by studying the affinity of the MIP for six common dyes, expressed as the binding factor (BF). The results of this study indicate that the mathematical relationship between the BF of a dye and the imprinting factor (IF) for the target could be used for the prediction of the efficacy of the displacement assay. Dye-loaded MIP particles where incubated with the target, two adulterants and two legal pharmacological compounds. The target has a higher affinity for the MIP than the dye and displaces it out of the nanocavities of the receptor leading to a colour change in the filtrate that can be observed with the naked eye. Incubation of the MIP particles with the adulterants and legal medicines did not result in any observable change in absorbance. The robust, fast and low-cost nature of the assay, combined with its tailorable selectivity and generic nature, illustrate its potential as a pre-screening tool for the identification of narcotic substances in unidentified powders.
- Molecularly imprinted polymer
- Displacement assay
- New psychoactive substance identification
- MOLECULARLY IMPRINTED POLYMERS
- SMALL ORGANIC-MOLECULES