MOLECULARLY IMPRINTED POLYMERS
Rather than being used as a sensor, as demonstrable in previous commercial applications of MIPs, the intention is to find new industrial scale applications. Instead of detecting or measuring the presence of a target material, they will be used to filter large volumes of material in solution, working in a similar way to a water cartridge. This will enable the industrial user to capture unwanted materials and/or valuable materials.
Molecularly Imprinted Polymers
Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) are formed in the presence of templates, the template being the molecule you want to capture. Once the molecule is removed in a rinsing process, the polymer maintains its ability capture the target molecule again if it comes in contact by leaving complementary cavities behind. The functional mechanism is similar to antibodies or enzymes. The polymer can be designed to bind to a wide range of targets, including metal ions, proteins, phenols, peptides or steroid hormones. The polymer can capture about 80% of the targeted material from a flow, even when the targets are in concentrations as low as a few parts per billion. A system set up with banks of polymer cartridges in series would result in capture rates near 100%. Targets bound to the polymers are rinsed off by inducing a sudden pH change, producing a broth rich in target material.
Once you start thinking of the MIPs as a filter, rather than a sensor, and ask companies what they would like to filter out of their products or processes, a wide range of potential applications arise. We have categorised these as follows:
- Removal of unwanted materials from flows, such as the removal of herbicide, pesticide and fungicide residues from wine or other beverages.
- Lower cost by-product capture, such as the filtration of chromium within tanneries or the capture of antimony from hydro-power plants.
- Collection of valuable materials, such as the collection of precious metals from geothermal flows.
- Highly specific binding
- Capture down to parts per billion
- Reusable filters
Rather than being used as a sensor, as demonstrable in previous commercial applications of MIPs, the intention is to find new industrial scale applications. Instead of detecting or measuring the presence of a target material, they will be used to filter large volumes of material in solution, working in a similar way to a water cartridge. This will enable the industrial user to capture unwanted materials and / or valuable materials.
Proof of concept
- Nigel Slaughter
- General Manager Commercial
Nigel Slaughter | General Manager Commercial
Nigel leads the commercial team at WaikatoLink, with the goal of increasing knowledge transfer and decreasing the complexity of the process. He has worked in commercialisation and technology marketing since 1995, 15 of these years in Europe. Over the course of 300+ commercialisation / marketing projects he has identified a series of essential ingredients for a successful project and these are now reflected in our processes. Nigel has an MBA from Aston Business School and a BSc in International Business from Aston University.