Remediation of pharmaceuticals from contaminated water by molecularly imprinted polymers: a review

Ehsan Nazarzadeh Zare, Zari Fallah, Van Thuan Le, Van Dat Doan, Ackmez Mudhoo, Sang Woo Joo, Yasser Vasseghian, Mahmood Tajbakhsh, Omid Moradi, Mika Sillanpää, Rajender S. Varma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The release of pharmaceuticals into the environment induces adverse effects on the metabolism of humans and other living species, calling for advanced remediation methods. Conventional removal methods are often non-selective and cause secondary contamination. These issues may be partly solved by the use of recently-developped adsorbents such as molecularly imprinted polymers. Here we review the synthesis and application of molecularly imprinted polymers for removing pharmaceuticals in water. Molecularly imprinted polymers are synthesized via several multiple-step polymerization methods. Molecularly imprinted polymers are potent adsorbents at the laboratory scale, yet their efficiency is limited by template leakage and polymer quality. Adsorption performance of multi-templated molecularly imprinted polymers depends on the design of wastewater treatment plants, pharmaceutical consumption patterns and the population serviced by these wastewater treatment plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2629-2664
Number of pages36
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Contaminated water
  • Limitations
  • Molecularly imprinted materials
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry


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