Rapid Removal of Organic Micropollutants from Water by a Porous β-Cyclodextrin Polymer

The global occurrence in water resources of organic micro-pollutants, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, is raising concerns about potential negative effects on aquatic ecosystems and human health. The article considers the potential of insoluble polymers of β-cyclodextrin, an inexpensive, sustainably produced macrocycle of glucose, for removing micro-pollutants from water by means of adsorption. β-cyclodextrin are cross-linked with rigid aromatic groups, providing a high-surface-area, mesoporous polymer of β-cyclodextrin.

It rapidly sequesters a variety of organic micro-pollutants with adsorption rate constants 15 to 200 times greater than those of activated carbons and non-porous β-cyclodextrin adsorbent materials. The polymer can be regenerated several times using a mild washing procedure with no loss in performance. Finally, the polymer outperformed a leading activated carbon for the rapid removal of a complex mixture of organic micro-pollutants at environmentally relevant concentrations. These findings demonstrate the promise of porous cyclodextrin-based polymers for rapid, flow-through water treatment.