The dynamic pore systems and high surface areas of flexible metal–organic framework materials make them excellent candidates to be used in different kinds of adsorption processes. However, the adsorption and desorption behaviors of therapeutic drugs on metal–organic frameworks in solution are not fully developed. Here, we systematically investigated the adsorption and desorption behaviors of a typical therapeutic drug, verapamil, over several Zr-based metal–organic frameworks [e.g., Zr-FUM, UiO-66(Zr), UiO-66(Zr)-NH2
and UiO-66(Zr)-2COOH] as well as ZrO2
in an acetonitrile solution by using paper spray mass spectrometry. In contrast to other materials, UiO-66(Zr)-2COOH demonstrated a superior adsorption performance to verapamil due to their strong acid-base and/or hydrogen-bond interactions, and the adsorption process fitted well with the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. As verapamil-adsorbed materials were used for desorption experiments, ZrO2
demonstrated the most favorable desorption performance, whereas UiO-66(Zr)-2COOH yielded the poorest desorption capability. These Zr-based materials had also been coated at the surface with filter papers for the analysis of various drugs and proteins in the process of paper spray mass spectrometry. The results demonstrated that among the studied materials, ZrO2
-coated paper gave the most favorable desorption performance as a pure drug solution, whereas the paper from UiO-66(Zr) demonstrated the optimal capability in the analyses of therapeutic drugs in a complex matrix (e.g., blood) and a protein (e.g., myoglobin).
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