Abstract: A variety of polymerization techniques can be used to prepare molecularly imprinted copolymers (MIPs) for the purpose of the separation of enantiomers by HPLC. Unfortunately, the lack of thermodynamic and kinetic data characterizing the imprinted polymers prepared by these different techniques prevents the rational choice of the one most suited for a specific application. We investigated and compared the thermodynamic properties of copolymers imprinted for Fmoc-L-tryptophan and prepared by two different methods. The first was an in situ polymerisation method that gives monolithic columns (monolithic MIPs), the second, a traditional method giving bulk MIPs. Examination of the thermodynamic properties on these two different MIPs showed that three types of binding sites coexist on their surface. The highest energy sites adsorb only the imprinted molecule or template. Most of the intermediate energy sites adsorb both the template and its antipode, although part of them may adsorb only the template. Finally, the lowest energy sites provide nonselective interactions of both the template and its antipode. On the nonimprinted copolymer, there are only two types of sites. The high-energy sites have a slightly lower energy that the intermediate sites of the MIPs, and the low-energy sites have properties close to those of the lowest energy sites on the MIPs. The monolithic MIPs have fewer nonselective sites than the bulk MIPs. However, the polar porogen that is needed to prepare the monolithic MIPs negatively affects the enantiomeric separation.
Template and target information: Fmoc-L-tryptophan, Fmoc-L-Trp, Fmoc-D-tryptophan, Fmoc-D-Trp