Hybridization of Synthetic Humins with a Metal–Organic Framework for Precious Metal Recovery and Reuse

Vikram V. Karve, Till Schertenleib, Jordi Espín, Olga Trukhina, Xiyuan Zhang, Marta Ximenis Campins, Takashi Kitao, Claudia E. Avalos, Takashi Uemura, Wendy L. Queen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of synthetic strategies used to functionalize MOFs with polymers is rapidly growing; this stems from the knowledge that non-native polymeric guests can significantly boost MOF performance in a number of desirable applications. The current work presents a scalable and solid-state method for MOF/polymer composite production. This simple method constitutes mixing a MOF powder, namely, Fe-BTC (BTC = 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylate), with a biomass-derived solid monomer, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and subsequently heating the solids; the latter promotes both solid-state diffusion of HMF into the MOF and the formation of polymeric humin species with a high density of accessible hydroxyl functionality within the MOF pore. The resulting composite, Fe-BTC/humin, was found to selectively extract Ag+ ions from laundry wastewater. Subsequent reduction of the Ag+ species yields a novel catalyst, Fe-BTC/humin/Ag, that is able to drive the organic transformation of cinnamaldehyde in a highly selective manner. Moreover, the catalyst exhibited recyclability up to five cycles, which is in contrast to the Fe-BTC/Ag catalyst without the humin-based polymer. It is envisioned that MOF/polymer composites that are able to selectively extract precious metals from liquid waste streams can be used for the future production of sustainable catalysts; this work was aimed at demonstrating a proof of concept in this regard. Moreover, this study brings more understanding of the impact that MOFs can have on polymer functionalities. Understanding the polymer structure and how it can be manipulated will help us realize the high degree of future potential of this distinct class of composite materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60027-60034
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 22 2021


  • Ag
  • MOF/polymer composites
  • catalysis
  • precious metal capture
  • solid-state polymerization
  • solvent-free methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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