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Polymer's hunt for nicotine
Date:8/4/2011

Newly synthesized polymer, fitted with molecular pincers of carefully tailored structure, effectively captures nicotine molecules and its analogues. The polymer can be used for fabrication of sensitive and selective chemical sensors to determine nicotine in solutions, and in the near future also in gases. Moreover, the polymer is suitable for slow, controlled release of nicotine, e.g., for therapeutic purposes.

The collaboration of researchers of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) and of the Department of Chemistry, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, has resulted in fabrication of a polymer trap for nicotine. Bearing molecular pincers, the polymer effectively captures nicotine molecules and its analogues, and can also release them in a controlled way. The compound will be used in reusable chemical sensors for determination of nicotine for industrial and biomedical purposes as well as in patches for smokers to evenly release nicotine to the body for a prolong time.

"The first nicotine trap has been synthesized by our US partner, Prof. Francis D'Souza, several years ago. It was a sort of molecular pincers, molecules that freely move in solution and form complexes with nicotine therein. Recently, our US-Polish team has been able to fix the pincers inside a polymer. The substance is solid, and that's why we could use it to construct chemosensors", says Prof. Włodzimierz Kutner from IPC PAS.

The core of the polymer nicotine trap, which has been recently filed for a patent, is a metalloporphyrin derivative, a substance present, i.a., in human blood. The molecule contains a ring (a macrocycle) with a centrally located zinc atom and amide pincers attached to this ring. Nicotine binds to this polymer with its two nitrogen atoms: one binds to the zinc atom, whereas the other to the pincers. "It is due to the specific two-point binding that we are surer that the captured molecule is nicot
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Contact: Antoni Szafranski
press@ichf.edu.pl
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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