The biological warfare agent ricin can now be detected by a molecularly imprinted polymer1.
Ricin which have diverse effects on cells of different organs like liver, kidney, pancreas, intestines and parathyroid is a toxin isolated from castor bean seeds.
The researchers devised molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for ricin on the surface of silica particles by using a mixture of two organic silanes. MIPs were then compared with non-imprinted polymers (NIPs).
Sophisticated imaging technique revealed that ricin-MIP had enhanced surface area than NIP. Ricin-MIP also had more pore width and volume than NIP.
Using the method, ricin and other biological warfare agents can be recognised, pre-concentrated and separated of from various matrices, the researchers say.