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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2004 Oct;380(4):587-605. Epub 2004 Oct 8.

Molecular imprinting: a dynamic technique for diverse applications in analytical chemistry.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science (Chinese Ministry of Education), Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.


Continuous advances in analyzing complex matrices, improving reliability and simplicity, and performing multiple simultaneous assays with extreme sensitivity are increasing. Several techniques have been developed for the quantitative assays of analytes at low concentrations (e.g., high-pressure liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, immunoassay and the polymerase chain reaction technique). To achieve highly specific and sensitive analysis, high affinity, stable, and specific recognition agents are needed. Although biological recognition agents are very specific and sensitive they are labile and/or have a low density of binding sites. During the past decade molecular imprinting has emerged as an attractive and highly accepted tool for the development of artificial recognition agents. Molecular imprinting is achieved by the interaction, either noncovalent or covalent, between complementary groups in a template molecule and functional monomer units through polymerization or polycondensation. These molecularly imprinted polymers have been widely employed for diverse applications (e.g., in chromatographic separation, drug screening, chemosensors, catalysis, immunoassays etc.) owing to their specificity towards the target molecules and high stability against physicochemical perturbations. In this review the advantages, applications, and recent developments in molecular imprinting technology are highlighted.

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