Background: Mercury is a highly hazardous heavy metal which can seriously affect the human health. Many analytical methods such as cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), have been reportedly used for the the determination of mercury in different samples. These techniques analyze the total mercury content (ionic form or complex species) accurately but they are very expensive and time consuming. In comparison, electrochemical sensors present inexpensive procedures that are able to analyze only the ionic forms of metallic ions, including mercury fast and simple. The devices can be further easily miniaturized and applied in portable applications. As opposed to these mertious advantages, they unfortunately suffer certain drawbacks especially if used for the analysis of heavy metal ions. The disadvantages include the fact that most selectophores used in designing mercury selective sensors, suffer from interference by the copper ions particularly when the analyte concentration is low. The application of ionic imprinted polymers (IIPs) as biomimetic selectophores in the design of the electrochemical sensing devices can be a good way to overcome this problem. The high extraction ability of IIPs make them suitable for the analysis of races of various analytes including mercury, making the analysis of very dilute sample viable.Objective: The present review tends to provide the reader with an overview of the methods used for the synthesis of Hg-IIPs as well as their applications to the analysis of various samples through their incorporation into the different electrochemical sensing devices such as potentiometric and voltammetric sensors.
Keywords: Biomimetic, electrochemical sensor, ion imprinted polymer (IIP), mercury ion.