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Dual detection of nafcillin using a molecularly imprinted polymer-based platform coupled to thermal and fluorescence read-out

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alex Hudson, Ollie Jamieson, Dr Alex LaudeORCiD, Dr Katarina Novakovic, Professor Marloes PeetersORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Reported here is the production of molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) films, integrating a fluorescent moiety that serves as both an element for template interaction and signalling, for the thermal and optical detection of the beta-lactam antibiotic nafcillin. Fluorescein methacrylate (FluMa) was synthesized and introduced during the molecular imprinting process as the sole monomer and in a 1 : 1 mixture with methacrylic acid (MAA), allowing to draw first conclusions on the MIP formation potential of such a rather large and rigid monomer. At first, MIP microparticles containing FluMa were prepared by free radical polymerisation. Optical batch rebinding experiments revealed that FluMa can act as a functional monomer for selective detection of nafcillin; however, the addition of MAA as co-monomer significantly improved performance. Subsequently, thin MIP films containing FluMa were deposited onto functionalised glass slides and the influence of porogen, drying time, and monomer composition was studied. These MIP-functionalised glass electrodes were mounted into a customised 3D-printed flow cell, where changes in the liquid were either evaluated with a thermal device or using fluorescence bright field microscopy. Thermal analysis demonstrated that multiple MIP layers enhanced sensor specificity, with detection in the environmentally relevant range. The fluorescence bright field microscope investigations validated these results, showing an increase in the fluorescence intensity upon exposure of the MIP-functionalised glass slides to nafcillin solutions. These are promising results for developing a portable sensor device that can be deployed for antibiotics outside of a dedicated laboratory environment, especially if sensor design and fluorophore architecture are optimised.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hudson A, Jamieson O, Crapnell R, Rurack K, Soares T, Mecozzi F, Laude A, Gruber J, Novakovic K, Peeters M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Materials Advances

Year: 2021

Volume: 2

Issue: 15

Pages: 5105-5115

Print publication date: 07/08/2021

Online publication date: 23/06/2021

Acceptance date: 23/06/2021

Date deposited: 27/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2633-5409

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/D1MA00192B


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Funder referenceFunder name
MP and AH would like to acknowledge the EPSRC for funding under grant number EP/R029296/2.