Highly selective and robust MIPs have been developed for ß-lactam antibiotics and clenbuterol. The results of the study indicate that MIPs can be used to prepare both selective and general recognition matrices for either individual analytes (e.g. penicillin) or groups of compounds (e.g. the ß-lactam antibiotic group). The MIPs developed have shown very good reproducibility and stability.
Practical protocols for the use of the MIPs as solid phase selective absorbents for the analysis of food samples have been developed and briefly evaluated. Specific MIP-based separation of clenbuterol from meat and kidney, and of a ß-lactam antibiotic (oxacillin) from milk, has been shown. Independent evaluation of the clenbuterol MIPs by the European MICA Network Group also demonstrated good reproducible performance.
The MIP developed for clenbuterol has been successfully used to prepare a novel sensor comprising MIP as the selective element and amperometric detection as the transducer. The responses from several such sensors were measured to be reproducible within a variability of 10%. The feasibility for an oxacillin MIP-based sensor has also been shown in a limited investigation, promising results have also been achieved in the bulk polymerisation studies which has the scope for progress towards commercial production of MIPs. This is important, as the classical laboratory-based techniques are wholly unsuitable for large-scale production of MIPs.
Two patent applications (e.g. concept for microbial MIP production and the scale-up procedure mentioned previously) are under active consideration and a wide dissemination of all the non-proprietary information in papers and presentations has been made.
Measurement of the type and concentration of viable microorganisms in foodstuffs is currently very slow and inefficient. Furthermore, the measurement of chemical or biopolymer analytes, particularly antibiotics, carrageenans and vitamins, is generally labour- and material-intensive, cumbersome, requires high capital equipment and is not robust or always wholly reliable. Molecular Imprinting Technology (MIT) offers the potential for development of truly simple, direct, rapid and robust measurement of these materials. It is the strategic objective of this project to develop Molecular Imprinting based Techniques (MIT), in combination with sensor technology, for the real-time measurement of the analytes (microorganisms, chemicals and biopolymers) of direct relevance to food safety and quality. The intermediate objectives are :
- to assess the generic score technology of MIT in appropriate formats
(e.g. planar film or particulate) for the real-time isolation and purification of a
range of analytes (e.g. Salmonella, Listeria, antibiotics, carrageenans and
vitamins) of particular importance to the food and agriculture industries;
- to determine the suitability of selected molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs)
as stable and reliable selective adsorbents for use in competition
immunoassays and/or for use in biosensor (e.g. optical and electrochemical)
- to assess the potential of MIT-based techniques as a practical answer to the
need for direct measurement of the analytes and as the basis for novel
measurement systems (e.g. on-line process measurement and portable or
automated systems for QC).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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