With α-bilirubin as a molecular template, polymerization of methacrylic acid (MAA) was carried out with the aid of the initiator 2,2-azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) and the cross-linking agent ethylene glycol dimethylacrylate (EGDMA). Bulk polymerization was successfully carried out so that poly(methacrylic acid-co-ethylene glycol dimethylacrylate) (poly(MAA-EGDMA)) imprinted with α-bilirubin was first developed. UV irradiation polymerization and heated polymerization methods were compared. Effect of different ratios of monomer to EGDMA during the polymerization was also discussed. Proper solvent for better desorption of α-bilirubin from the imprinted poly(MAA-EGDMA) was investigated. In addition, SEM photos were provided for observing the differences between the surfaces of the imprinted poly(MAA-EGDMA) before and after extraction. The corresponding binding results of α-bilirubin imprinted poly(MAA-EGDMA) and non-imprinted poly(MAA-EGDMA) both after extraction were compared. How the pH values during extraction stage affected the binding capacities of the imprinted polymer as well as non-imprinted polymer were also discussed. Similar study and comparison were made for different binding pH values. Different compounds of similar molecular weight were used to show the specific binding of the imprinted polymer for bilirubin. The results further confirmed the successful binding as well as specificity of the imprinted poly(MAA-EGDMA) for α-bilirubin.
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