For decades, the water deficit has been a severe global issue. A reliable supply of water is needed to ensure sustainable economic development in population growth, industrialization and urbanization. To solve this major challenge, membrane-based water treatment technology has attracted a great deal of attention to produce clean drinking water from groundwater, seawater and brackish water. The emergence of nanotechnology in membrane science has opened new frontiers in the development of advanced polymeric membranes to enhance filtration performance. Nevertheless, some obstacles such as fouling and trade-off of membrane selectivity and permeability of water have hindered the development of traditional polymeric membranes for real applications. To overcome these issues, the modification of membranes has been pursued. The use of macromolecules for membrane modification has attracted wide interests in recent years owing to their interesting chemical and structural properties. Membranes modified with macromolecules have exhibited improved anti-fouling properties due to the alteration of their physiochemical properties in terms of the membrane morphology, porosity, surface charge, wettability, and durability. This review provides a comprehensive review of the progress made in the development of macromolecule modified polymeric membranes. The role of macromolecules in polymeric membranes and the advancement of these membrane materials for water solution are presented. The challenges and future directions for this subject are highlighted.
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