Abstract Potentiometric properties of cholic and deoxycholic acid derivatives substituted with various ion-recognizing moieties, such as dithiocarbamate, bipyridyl, glycolic and malonic diamides, urea and thiourea, and trifluoroacetophenons (TFAP), have been studied using solvent polymeric membranes. The dithiocarbamate and bipyridyl group containing ionophores exhibit high silver ion selectivity. The cholic acid derivatized with glycolic diamides exhibited high calcium selectivity, but its complex formulation constant was 10 5 times smaller than that of ETH 1001. The reduced calcium binding ability of the glycolic diamide-substituted ionophore was advantageous for eliminating anionic interference. The bi- or tripodal malonic diamide-substituted ionophores exhibited substantially increased magnesium selectivity. Anion-selective ionophores have been designed by substituting urea and thiourea group containing chains to the hydroxyl linkers of chenodeoxycholic acid frames; their selectivity closely followed the sequence of Hoffmeister series, except the unusually large response of the thiourea-substituted ionophore to sulfate. The most successful examples of cholic or deoxycholic acid frame-based ionophores are those functionalized with two carbonate-selective TFAP groups: bipodal TFAP groups behaves like a tweezers for the incoming carbonate, and exhibit analytically interference free and quantitative responses to the carbonate in serum and seawater samples.