Molecularly imprinted polymers immobilized on 3D printed scaffolds as novel solid phase extraction sorbent for metergoline

In the present work, a novel solid phase extraction (SPE) sorbent was developed based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) immobilized on 3D-printed scaffolds using polymer networks as MIP-immobilizing layer. MIPs were produced by precipitation polymerization in acetonitrile (ACN) using methacrylic acid (MAA) as functional monomer, trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate (TRIM) as crosslinker and metergoline as model template which allows final recognition of ergot alkaloid mycotoxins. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) analyses showed an average MIP particle size of 457 ± 145 nm. Functional MIP analysis revealed dissociation constants (KD) of 0.29 and 38.90 μM for high and low affinity binding sites respectively. Subsequently, crosslinking of polymer network building blocks was applied as MIP immobilization method on poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) which was selected as polymer model. Methodology optimization and subsequent evaluation were first realized on 2D PCL surfaces. Based on analyses such as optical evaluation of MIP availability after immobilization through SEM and depth profilometry, an optimal polymer network building block concentration of 7.5 w/w% was selected. In a final part, transfer of MIP immobilization to 3D PCL scaffolds was successfully realized. Functional analysis showed that the newly developed SPE sorbents were able to rebind 44.87 ± 8.30% of a 1 μM metergoline solution. In conclusion, a new type of SPE sorbent was developed for the detection of metergoline by the use of MIP-functionalized polymer scaffolds. The applied technology opens up future possibilities for the extraction of a broad range of components such as other mycotoxins.