Binding capacity of molecularly imprinted polymers and their nonimprinted analogs

Zsanett Dorkó, Anett Szakolczai, Tatjana Verbic, G. Horvai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Molecularly imprinted polymers bind their target compounds at binding sites. The binding sites are typically based on some type of functional group, such as carboxyl group. The total amount of such functional groups and their distribution into available and unavailable groups is not well known. The total binding capacity is usually indirectly determined from adsorption isotherms, which are measured much below the theoretical binding capacity. This work shows that in a variety of differently prepared, methacrylic acid based molecularly imprinted and nonimprinted polymers, all carboxylic groups used for the polymer synthesis are retained in the polymer, 80-90% of them can be accessed by strong bases and essentially the same amount can be used for adsorption of weak bases. This high level of adsorption can only be achieved, however, if the adsorbed weak base is strong enough, if the polymer is sufficiently elastic and if the solvent does not compete too strongly for the binding sites. These results may explain why the maximum binding capacities obtained from isotherm measurements are usually not equal to the total amount of available binding sites. This study confirms the usefulness of nonimprinted polymers at high loadings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4240-4247
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Separation Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015



  • Adsorption
  • Binding capacity
  • Binding site distribution
  • Molecularly imprinted polymers
  • Polymer titration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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