Cyclodextrin-based polymeric materials for the specific recovery of polyphenolic compounds through supramolecular host-guest interactions
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While the specific recovery of valuable chemicals from waste streams represents an environmentally-friendly and potentially economically-relevant alternative to synthetic chemical productions, it remains a largely unmet challenge. This is partially explained by the complexity of designing sorption materials able to target one specific compound and able to function in complex matrices. In this work, a series of cyclodextrin-based polymers (CDPs) were designed to selectively extract phenolic compounds from a complex organic matrix that is olive oil mill wastewater (OMW). In order to endow these polymers with selective adsorption properties, several monomers and cross-linkers were screened and selected. The adsorption properties of the CDPs produced were first tested with selected phenolic compounds commonly found in OMW, namely syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, tyrosol and caffeic acid. The selected CDPs were subsequently tested for their ability to adsorb phenolic compounds directly from OMW, which is known to possess a high and complex organic content. It was demonstrated through high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy analyses that efficient removal of phenolic compounds from OMW could be achieved but also that two compounds, namely tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, could be selectively extracted from OMW.