Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) were synthesized and applied for the selective extraction of oblongifolin C (OC) from fruit extracts of Garcinia yunnanensis
Hu. A series of experiments and computational approaches were employed to improve the efficiency of screening for optimal MIP systems in the study. The molar ratio (1:4) was eventually chosen based on the comparison of the binding energy of the complexes between the template (OC) and the functional monomers using density functional theory (DFT) at the RI-PBE-D3-gCP/def2-TZVP level of theory. The binding characterization and the molecular recognition mechanism of MIPs were further explained using the molecular modeling method along with NMR and IR spectra data. The reusability of this approach was demonstrated in over 20 batch rebinding experiments. A mass of 140.5 mg of OC (>95% purity) was obtained from the 5 g extracts, with 2 g of MIPs with the best binding properties, through a gradient elution program from 35% to 70% methanol-water solution. At the same time, another structural analog, 46.5 mg of guttiferone K (GK) (>88% purity), was also obtained by the gradient elution procedure. Our results showed that the structural analogs could be separated from the crude extracts by the molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction (MISPE) using a gradient elution procedure for the first time.
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