Abstract A supported liquid membrane (SLM) containing a resorcinarene carrier has been used for the selective transport of erythritol, threitol, ribitol and xylitol from concentrated (1.0–0.01 M) aqueous solutions. The membrane is made of a microporous polytetrafluoroethylene film impregnated with a 0.01 M solution of the carrier in CCl 4. The permeabilities of the SLM for all alditols were calculated. On the basis of the flux dependence on the initial concentrations of carrier and alditol, the rate-determining step in the transport mechanism is shown to be the migration of the 1:1 carrier–carbohydrate complex in the immobilized organic phase. The flux of sugar is related to the initial concentration of alditol in the feed phase by a saturation law, which allowed the determination of the apparent diffusion coefficients and the stability constants of the resorcinarene complexes of alditols formed in the liquid membrane.