Similar to those in complementary nucleotides' base pairs, we present a novel molecularly imprinted electrochemical sensor for emodin, constructed using a multiple hydrogen bonds strategy. We obtained the sensor by in situ photopolymerization, using allobarbital as a new functional monomer. We optimized the conditions of membrane imprinting and the composition of adsorption solvent. This artificial receptor exhibits high selectivity for the template in comparison with closely related analogs, aloin A and simetryne. The sensor was successfully applied in determination of emodin levels in one of the traditional Chinese medicines, the content of emodin in Sanhuang tablets detected using the voltammetric sensor and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were 0.249 ± 0.009 (mg/tablet) and 0.246 ± 0.007 (mg/tablet), respectively. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012
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