The molecular imprinting effect of propranolol and dibenzylamine as model templates: Binding strength and selectivity

Anett Nagy-Szakolczai, Anikó Sváb-Kovács, Anikó Krezinger, Blanka Tóth, László Nyulászi, George Horvai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent studies have shown anomalies with the most studied non-covalent molecularly imprinted polymer, the propranolol imprinted one. This imprinted polymer, like many others, binds more template than the non-imprinted control polymer, but its selectivity in template adsorption is only slightly or not at all improved by imprinting, depending on the compound compared. The reasons for this anomaly are discovered here. Simple experiments show that acid homoassociation in the prepolymerisation complex is the likely cause of the anomaly. The specific conductivity of prepolymerization mixtures at different functional monomer to template ratios follows a pattern observed in homoassociating systems. Analysis of the optimal prepolymerization mixture shows that on average two molecules of the functional monomer are complexed to the basic template, even if the template lacks any other hydrogen bonding functional group than the amino group. Molecular modeling calculations provide the structure and stability of the homoassociated prepolymerization complexes. These results lead to a plausible interpretation of the anomaly, which may not be unique for the propranolol imprinted polymer, but may affect all imprinted polymers made for basic templates by using acidic functional monomers. The analytical applications of the new imprinting model are demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2020


  • Acid-base
  • Beta blocker
  • Binding site
  • Molecular imprinting
  • Propranolol
  • Selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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