Improved enantioselectivity for atenolol employing pivot based molecular imprinting

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© 2018 by the authors. In the last few decades, molecular imprinting technology went through a spectacular evolution becoming a well-established tool for the synthesis of highly selective biomimetic molecular recognition platforms. Nevertheless, there is still room for advancement in the molecular imprinting of highly polar chiral compounds. The aim of the present work was to investigate the favorable kosmotropic effect of a ternary complex involving a polar chiral template (eutomer of atenolol) and a functional monomer, bridged by a central metal ion through well-defined, spatially directional coordinate bonds. The efficiency of the chiral molecular recognition was systematically assessed on polymers obtained both by non-covalent and metal-mediated molecular imprinting. The influence on the chromatographic retention and enantioselectivity of different experimental variables (functional monomers, cross-linkers, chaotropic agents, metal ions, porogenic systems, etc.) were studied on both slurry packed and monolithic HPLC columns. Deliberate changes in the imprinting and rebinding (chromatographic) processes, along with additional thermodynamic studies shed light on the particularities of the molecular recognition mechanism. The best performing polymer in terms of enantioselectivity (α = 1.60) was achieved using 4-vinyl pyridine as functional monomer and secondary ligand for the Co(II)-mediated imprinting of S-atenolol in the presence of EDMA as cross-linker in a porogenic mixture of [BMIM][BF4]:DMF:DMSO = 10:1:5, v/v/v.

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