Abstract: In this paper we describe the synthesis, characterisation and use of two distinct molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) prepared using esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) as templates: one MIP was synthesised by precipitation polymerisation using a semi-covalent molecularly imprinting strategy with methyl paraben as the template/target (MIP 1); the second MIP was prepared in monolithic form through a conventional non-covalent molecular imprinting strategy, with butyl paraben as the template (MIP 2). MIP 1 recognized methyl paraben, showed cross-selectivity for other parabens analytes used in the study and higher affinity towards these compounds than did a non-imprinted control polymer. Similarly, MIP 2 demonstrated higher affinity towards paraben analytes than a non-imprinted control polymer.
For the analysis of environmental water samples, a solid-phase extraction (SPE) protocol was developed using MIP 2 as sorbent, and results were compared to a SPE using a commercial sorbent (Oasis HLB). With MIP 2 as sorbent and butyl paraben as target, when percolating 500 mL of river water spiked at 1 μg L-1 through the SPE cartridge, and using 1 mL of isopropanol as cleaning solvent, a higher recovery of butyl 4-hydroxybenzoate (butyl paraben) and a cleaner chromatogram where achievable when using the MIP compared to the commercial sorbent.
Template and target information: butyl paraben, butyl 4-hydroxybenzoate
Author keywords: molecularly imprinted polymer, Parabens, precipitation polymerisation, Semi-covalent approach, sacrificial spacer