Synthesis and Characterization of a Fluorinated Molecularly Imprinted Polymer for Specific Sorption of Perfluorooctanoic Acid

James Davis, and Stephen T. Hobson, Ph.D, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Liberty University, 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Va, 24515

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a surfactant used in the manufacturing process of textiles, upholstery, and non-stick cookware. PFOA is toxic to humans in many aspects. It has been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers, cause fertility problems, and lead to increased risk of preeclampsia. PFOA possesses remarkable stability that has led to its bioaccumulation in the environment. Because of its toxic, persistent nature, there is a need for a selective sensor to detect PFOA concentrations in in aqueous environments. This project is focused on the synthesis of a fluorinated molecularly-imprinted polymer (fMIP) from a novel crosslinking monomer. Molecular imprinted polymers are materials in which the target analyte is added to the monomer mixture; the analyte forms non-covalent bonds (H-bonds, pi-stacking, F-F interactions) with the monomer forming a prepolymerization complex; polymerization and removal of the imprinted analyte leaves a complementary shape in the matrix that will selectively bind the target. Hence, the material bindsPFOA through interactions along its backbone that, like PFOA, consists of carbon-fluorine bonds and through hydrogen bonding. Comparison of PFOA’s binding affinity to the fMIP and to a control polymer will be analyzed in batch-rebinding assays, that will use GC-MS to quantify how much PFOA is bound to the both the fMIP and the NIP with increasing PFOA concentrations. A large difference in bound analyte for a range of free analyte concentrations between the fMIP and NIP will indicate the strength of the fMIP; this is called the imprinting factor (IF). Selectivity is measured in this study using the selectivity factor, alpha, the ratio of binding of the PFOA to the fMIP and the binding of a perhydroanalog, octanoic acid to the fMIP. Once the fMIP is optimized, it will be placed into a chemical sensor probe for remote detection of PFOA in environmental samples. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: James Davis, Joseph Meyer, Madeline McCoy, Chase Anderson, Alicia Loucks

Institution: Liberty University

Type: Poster

Subject: Chemistry

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 3614