The selective removal of 17 beta-estradiol (E2) was investigated by using molecularly E2 imprinted (MIP) particle embedded poly( hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) cryogel. PHEMA/MIP composite cryogel was characterized by FTIR, SEM, swelling studies, and surface area measurements. E2 adsorption studies were performed by using aqueous solutions which contain various amounts of E2. The specificity of PHEMA/MIP cryogel to recognition of E2 was performed by using cholesterol and stigmasterol. PHEMA/MIP cryogel exhibited a high binding capacity (5.32 mg/g polymer) and high selectivity for E2 in the presence of competitive molecules, cholesterol (k(E2/cholesterol) (=) 7.6) and stigmasterol (k(E2/Stigmasterol) = 85.8). There is no significant decrease in adsorption capacity after several adsorption-desorption cycles. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.