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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jul 25;10(29):24850-24859. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b08558. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

Necklace-like Molecularly Imprinted Nanohybrids Based on Polymeric Nanoparticles Decorated Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes for Highly Sensitive and Selective Melamine Detection.

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Key Laboratory of Synthetic and Biological Colloids, Ministry of Education, School of Chemical and Material Engineering , Jiangnan University , Wuxi 214122 , Jiangsu Province , P. R. China.


In this study, molecularly imprinted nanohybrids with "necklace-like" nanostructures were developed based on self-assembled polymeric nanoparticles decorated multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by employing melamine as template molecules. An amphiphilic copolymer poly(acrylic acid- co-(7-(4-vinylbenzyloxy)-4-methyl coumarin)- co-ethylhexyl acrylate) (poly(AA- co-VMc- co-EHA), PAVE) containing photosensitive coumarin units was synthesized first. Then, the PAVE copolymers were co-assembled with MWCNTs in the presence of template molecules, generating photosensitive molecularly imprinted nanohybrids (MIP-MWCNTs) with necklace-like structures. Subsequently, the MIP-MWCNTs nanohybrids were used to modify electrode surface followed by photo-polymerization of the coumarin units in the nanohybrids, leading to a network architectured complex film. After extracting melamine molecules by electrolysis, a melamine MIP sensor was successfully developed. The as-prepared sensor exhibited a significantly wide linear range (1.0 × 10-12-1.0 × 10-6 mol L-1) and a low detection limit (5.6 × 10-13 mol L-1) for melamine detection. High selectivity of the sensor toward melamine was well demonstrated with respect to other melamine analogues and interferents. Furthermore, the MIP sensor showed high stability and reproducibility. The excellent performance of the MIP sensor can be attributed to the unique nanostructure of the complex film provided by these necklace-like nanohybrids. On the one hand, the nanosized polymeric MIP nanoparticles along the MWCNTs increase the effective electrode surface area and thus offer a high melamine-binding capacity. On the other hand, the MWCNTs in MIP-MWCNTs nanohybrids serve as "electronic bridges" to accelerate the electron transfer among the complex MIP film. More importantly, the MIP sensor was practically used to monitor melamine in milk samples, demonstrating a promising feature for applications in the analysis of food like milk and other food products including milk powder, infant formula, and animal feed. Considering the ease of polymeric nanoparticles functionalization, the necklace-like nanohybrids would be extended to wider applications in many other sensors and devices.


MIP sensor; MWCNTs; melamine; molecular imprinted nanohybrids; self-assembly


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