Molecularly imprinted polymers for cleanup and selective extraction of curcuminoids in medicinal herbal extracts


This paper describes the synthesis of novel molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), prepared by a noncovalent imprinting approach, for cleanup and preconcentration of curcumin (CUR) and bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC) from medicinal herbal extracts and further analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD). Two molecular mimics, a mixture of reduced BDMCs and 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone (HPB), have been synthesized and applied as templates for MIP synthesis. The polymers were prepared using N-(2-aminoethyl) methacrylamide (EAMA) as functional monomer, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EDMA) as the cross-linker (in a 1:5 molar ratio), and a mixture of acetonitrile/dimethylsulfoxide (90 %, v/v) as porogen. MIPs prepared using a mixture of reduced BDMCs as template showed higher selectivity for CUR and BDMC than those obtained with HPB, with imprinting factors of 3.5 and 2.7 for CUR and BDMC, respectively, using H2O/acetonitrile (65:35, v/v) as mobile phase. The adsorption isotherms for CUR in the MIP and the nonimprinted polymer (NIP) were fitted to the Freundlich isotherm model, and the calculated average binding affinities for CUR were (17 ± 2) and (8 ± 1) mM−1 for the MIP and the NIP, respectively. The polymers were packed into solid-phase extraction (SPE) cartridges, and the optimized molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction (MISPE-HPLC) with fluorescence detection (FLD) method allowed the extraction of both curcuminoids from aqueous samples (50 mM NH4Ac, pH 8.8) followed by a selective washing with acetonitrile/NH4Ac, 50 mM at pH 8.8 (30:70 %, v/v), and elution with 3 × 1 mL of MeOH. Good recoveries and precision ranging between 87 and 92 %, with relative standard deviation (RSD) of <5.3 % (n = 3), were obtained after the preconcentration of 10-mL solutions containing both CUR and BDMC at concentrations in the range of 0–500 μg L−1. The optimized method has been applied to the analysis of both curcuminoids in medicinal herbal extracts.

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This work has been funded by I-MHERE B.2c grant for Sandwich Doctoral Program of Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, and by MINECO (ref. CTQ2012-37573-C02-02). JUR thanks the International Excellence Campus CEI-Moncloa for a postdoctoral contract, and ABD thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for a Ramón y Cajal contract.

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Correspondence to Maria C. Moreno-Bondi.

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Published in the topical collection celebrating ABCs 13th Anniversary.

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Wulandari, M., Urraca, J.L., Descalzo, A.B. et al. Molecularly imprinted polymers for cleanup and selective extraction of curcuminoids in medicinal herbal extracts. Anal Bioanal Chem 407, 803–812 (2015).

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  • Curcumin
  • Bisdemethoxycurcumin
  • Bulk polymerization
  • Molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction (MISPE)