Title: Enzymatically initiated synthesis of biomimetic receptors based on molecularly imprinted polymers by free radical polymerization.


Date: 2016

National thesis number: 2016COMP2266


  • Enzyme-catalyzed synthesis of natural and synthetic polymers has been developed since several decades, as an eco-friendly process. Compared to the conventional methods, enzymes offer high selectivity, ability to operate under mild conditions and to recycle the catalyst. On the other hand, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are synthetic materials with specific recognition properties for target molecules. They have recently attracted increasing attention in environmental and newly in biomedical applications for their specificity and selectivity. However, concerns about MIP toxicity for human and environment safety are of great importance. Herein, carrying forward the concept of green chemistry, an enzyme-mediated synthesis approach is described to prepare molecularly imprinted nanoparticles (MIP-NPs) in aqueous media. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) is used to initiate the polymerization of methacrylate-based monomers and cross-linkers by catalyzing the generation of free radicals. Different hydrogels are synthesized and characterized. Greener hydrogels are obtained with lower cytotoxicity than that of polymers synthesized by traditional way. The hydrogels synthesis is optimized in order to control the particles sizes and polymerization yields. Moreover, water-compatible MIP nanoparticles for the recognition of different small molecules and proteins are prepared in aqueous media by HRP-initiated free radical polymerization and compared to MIPs prepared by the thermal or photopolymerization methods. HRP immobilization is also performed for hydrogels synthesis as well as MIP preparation. The reusability of immobilized enzyme is investigated for the preparation of several MIP batches with the same morphology, yield as well as good specificity and selectivity. We believe that this new synthesis method for MIPs will provide new opportunities to enlarge the use of molecular imprinting technology in biomedical and environmental applications.

Link: 2016COMP2266

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