Surface modifications of biopolymers for removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from water: Current research and perspectives

Water Res. 2024 Feb 1:249:120927. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2023.120927. Epub 2023 Nov 25.


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are highly recalcitrant organic contaminants that have attracted ever-increasing attention from the general public, government agencies and scientific communities. To remove PFAS from water, especially the enormous volume of drinking water, stormwater, and groundwater, sorption is the most practical approach. Success of this approach demands green, renewable, and sustainable materials for capturing PFAS at ng/L or µg/L levels. To meet this demand, this manuscript critically reviewed sorbents developed from biopolymers, such as chitosan (CTN), alginate (ALG), and cellulose (CEL) covering the period from 2008 to 2023. The use of different cross-linkers for the surface modifications of biopolymers were described. The underlying removal mechanism of biosorbents for PFAS adsorption from molecular perspectives was discussed. Besides reviewing and comparing the performance of different bio-based sorbents with respect to environmental factors like pH, and sorption kinetics and capacity, strategies for modifying biosorbents for better performance were proposed. Additionally, approaches for regeneration and reuse of the biosorbents were discussed. This was followed by further discussion of challenges facing the development of biosorbents for PFAS removal.

Keywords: Amine functionalization; Biopolymers; Challenges and future perspectives; Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; Regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopolymers
  • Drinking Water* / analysis
  • Fluorocarbons* / analysis
  • Groundwater* / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Drinking Water
  • Biopolymers