Chemists created beer bottles with a longer shelf life using a polymer that absorbs the riboflavin.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is responsible for driving photooxidation reactions that affect the flavour of many drinks and so they often have to be packaged in light-shielded containers.
Börje Sellergren and colleagues have developed a way of removing riboflavin. They imprinted riboflavin-shaped pockets into a polymer by synthesising it in the presence of riboflavin tetra-acetate template molecules. Removing the template left empty receptor pockets, which the team showed could capture and remove riboflavin from milk, beer and multivitamin mixtures.
The molecularly imprinted polymer performs well in aqueous systems. It can extract up to 86 per cent of the riboflavin compared to 47 per cent for the corresponding non-imprinted control polymer.