Abstract

A basic approach was optimized for the synthesis of highly selective and sensitive in situ mesoporous (MCM) type imprinted silica polymers for the detection of dipicolinic acid (DPA) using europium as a reporter. DPA is a ubiquitous biochemical marker available during the germination event of endospore-forming bacteria such as Bacillus . Additionally, an MCM-MIP (molecularly imprinted polymeric phenomena) detector and a companion MCM–non-surface–MIP detector were synthesized using europium reporters for the sensing of DPA under optimized laboratory conditions. Our results showed that the in situ molecular imprinting process enabled rapid, selective detection of DPA with high sensitivity compared to MCM-MIP (imprinted for DPA; no DPA present), MCM-Non-MIP (no imprint present), and MCM-SR-MIP (imprinted with DPA present) detectors. The lower detection limit observed for DPA concentration is 5.49 × 10<sup>–10</sup> mol dm<sup>–3</sup> for MCM-MIP. The performance of the sensor in high-salt-water conditions, under photo-bleaching, and its reusability were also evaluated. The synthesized in situ MCM-MIP material should permit the detection of DPA for field assays related to suspect bacterial sporulation events.

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