Pollutant removal with organic macrocycle-based covalent organic polymers and frameworks

Tina Skorjanc, Dinesh Shetty, Ali Trabolsi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Air, water, and soil pollution devastate countless ecosystems and deteriorate human health. Adsorption has commonly been used as a pollutant removal technique, but ongoing materials science research is still searching for more efficient, cheaper, and scalable sorbent materials. Herein, we discuss the synthesis and pollutant-capturing abilities of covalent polymeric structures, including covalent organic polymers and covalent organic frameworks that contain organic macrocycles in the backbone of their structures. These organic macrocycles (cyclodextrin, calixarene, cucurbituril, pillararene, and porphyrin) possess cavities and functional groups that can sequester pollutants by forming supramolecular interactions. The insolubility of these materials prominently aids in their regeneration and recyclability potentials. Following a discussion on the synthetic strategies used in the polymerization of each type of macrocycle, environmental applications of these materials are presented. Here, we focus on the removal of micropollutants, charged species, metal ions, oils and organic solvents, perfluorinated substances, iodine, and volatile organic compounds.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)882-918
Number of pages37
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2021


  • adsorption
  • covalent organic frameworks
  • covalent polymers
  • environmental remediation
  • host-guest chemistry
  • organic macrocycles
  • SDG6: Clean water and sanitation
  • supramolecular interactions


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