Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) give the opportunity of confining guest molecules into their pores even by a post-synthetic protocol. PUM168 is a Zn-based MOF characterized by microporous cavities that allows the encapsulation of a significant number of guest molecules. The pores engineered with different binding sites show a remarkable guest affinity towards a series of natural essential oils components, such as eugenol, thymol and carvacrol, relevant for environmental applications. Exploiting single crystal X-ray diffraction, it was possible to step-wisely monitor the rather complex three-components guest exchange process involving dimethylformamide (DMF, the pristine solvent) and binary mixtures of the flavoring agents. A picture of the structural evolution of the DMF-to-guest replacement occurring inside the MOF crystal was reached by a detailed single-crystal-to-single-crystal monitoring. The relation of the supramolecular arrangement in the pores with selective guests release was then investigated as a function of time and temperature by static headspace GC-MS analysis.
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