Identifying trace amounts of molecules

Sep 10, 2012
Identifying trace amounts of molecules
© Thinkstock

European researchers advanced the frontiers of chemical separation technology. The increased specificity and selectivity regarding identification of biologically relevant molecules should have important impact on biomedicine and environmental science in particular.

Imagine a piece of play dough into which an unusual and complicated shape is pressed. Removing the 'key' leaves the matching 'lock' imprinted on it. This is the basic idea behind an exciting new process called molecular imprinting.

A polymer is 'imprinted' with a molecule or piece of a molecule creating a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP). The MIP has cavities or imprints that now give it selectivity and specificity for the original molecule used to make the imprint or perhaps the entire family of molecules.

MIPs are already being used in a variety of applications. Recognition of veterinary antibiotics in and separation and analysis of sample components in clinical laboratories are only a few.

Despite their potential, optimisation of MIPs can be complicated due to numerous different binding sites with varying affinities for different molecules. In addition, creating MIPs from large molecules such as proteins has proven difficult.

seeking novel synthesis routes for cost-effective MIP production initiated the 'Nanoimprinting technologies for selective recognition and separation' (Nanoimprint) project.

Investigators focused on synthesis of molecularly imprinted nano- and via three different techniques using peptides, the building blocks of proteins, as template molecules. Various different biologically important peptide templates were used.

Scientists also evaluated potential for encapsulation of MIPs in and production of MIP coatings on rigid beads, both of which could be important in .

Nanoimprint advanced current knowledge regarding optimisation of imprinting of large molecules such as peptides and proteins on polymer substrates. Extension of the selective recognition and separation properties of MIPs to larger and biologically important molecules could have wide-reaching impact on biotechnology, biomedicine and environmental science.

Explore further: Use your smartphone for biosensing

Related Stories

'Sensing' danger

Jul 30, 2012

European researchers developed a novel gas sensor capable of detecting trace amounts of dangerous explosives with minimal false alarms. The technology should be important to a variety of gas separation and ...

Undercover Tactics

May 10, 2005

Soft shell, hard core: nanotubes made of cyclic peptides with a synthetic polymer coating Ever since the discovery of carbon nanotubes in the early 1990s, scientists and engineers have been fascinated by the possibilities ...

Step by step toward more efficient chemical synthesis

Aug 13, 2012

Chemical engineering conventionally divides the process from raw materials to finished product into unit operations. EU-funded researchers developed software tools to evaluate integration of two or more units ...

Recommended for you

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier

9 hours ago

We live in fear of 'superbugs': infectious bacteria that don't respond to treatment by antibiotics, and can turn a routine hospital stay into a nightmare. A 2015 Health Canada report estimates that superbugs have already cost Canadians $1 billion, and are a "serious and growing issue." Each year two million people in the U.S. contract antibiotic-re ...

Researchers find 'decoder ring' powers in micro RNA

12 hours ago

MicroRNA can serve as a "decoder ring" for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York University chemists has found. Their study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points ...

DNA mutations get harder to hide

15 hours ago

Rice University researchers have developed a method to detect rare DNA mutations with an approach hundreds of times more powerful than current methods.

Use your smartphone for biosensing

17 hours ago

An Australian research team has shown that smartphones can be reconfigured as cost-effective, portable bioanalytical devices, with details reported in the latest edition of the Open Access Journal 'Sensors'.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.