Toward the Molecular Imprinting of Nerve Agents: Development of a Detoxifying Towelette
Small Business Information
Intelligent Optical Systems,
2520 W. 237th Street, Torrance, CA, 90505
Kisholoy Goswami, Ph.d.
AbstractHuman skin exposed to a liquid nerve agent, such as sarin, must be decontaminated immediately (within one minute) to avoid fatality. Intelligent Optical Systems proposes a decontamination towelette containing a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) that mimics the binding characteristics of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The cost, shelf life, and storage conditions of a disposable towelette are important considerations. Enzymes are best preserved at 40C, a temperature that poses logistical constraints in. the field. In some instances, it is not easy to find a suitable biological source for the necessary enzymes. They often require special handling to maintain their tertiary structure. Organic solvents severely limit enzyme their usefulness. Molecularly imprinted polymers bind to substrates (such as sarin) selectively because the binding sites and the substrate complement each other in size, shape, and chemical functionality. MIPs combine the advantages of easy tailor design with physical and chemical stability, durability, and reactive functionality. The selectivities and affinities acquired from the molecular imprinting process are also on par, in many instances, with natural binding entities. In Phase I, 105 will synthesize and test MIPs using paraoxon, an analog of sarin, and demonstrate MIPs' substrate binding potential for nerve gas decontamination. In addition to providing a high-performance alternative to enzymes for decontamination, molecularly imprinted polymers will have excellent potential for biosensors. Applications include the detection of explosives, toxic chemicals and biological agents, medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, chemical process control, food processing control, and biotechnology instrumentation.
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