Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Servoss, Shannon S.

Abstract

This study serves as a proof of concept that a poly(acrylonitrile-co-acrylic acid) may be used to form an chiral selective polymer membrane for discrimination of L-tryptophan from racemic tryptophan. Due to the unavailability of necessary equipment, a polymer membrane was not tested, rather, two experiments were run in conjunction; (1) A membrane of L-tryptophan imprinted P(AN-co-AA) was cast and tested on a scanning electron microscope to determine the membrane density, and (2) Imprinted polymer was ground and tested for absorption of L-Tryptophan by finding circular dichroism and concentration for different samples. It was found that it is feasible that P(AN-co-AA) may be used to make a dense membrane for this application. Spectrophotometer results indicate that the concentration of tryptophan in aqueous DL-tryptophan significantly decreases after it has been in the presence of the imprinted polymer matrix. Circular dichroism indicates that significant spectroscopic changes occur when a racemic mixture of tryptophan is held in the presence of an imprinted polymer matrix. These results reveal that it is highly feasible that the polymer exhibits a high selectivity for L-Tryptophan, which decrease with each use of the polymer. This study also discusses the potential benefits of incorporating a peptoid cross linker into the imprinted polymer matrix.

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