In this study we describe a novel and simple method to couple covalently poly (maleic anhydride-alt-1-alkenes) to γ-alumina nanofiltration membranes for the first time. The 1-alkenes varied from 1-hexene, 1-decene, 1-hexadecane to 1-octadecene. The grafting reaction was between the reactive anhydride moieties of the polymer and surface hydroxyl groups, resulting in highly stable bonds. The modified membranes were investigated for their permeation and rejection performance of Sudan Black (SB, Mw 457 Da) in either toluene or ethyl acetate (EA) solution, and very high rejections (> 90%) and high permeation flux were observed compared to un-modified membranes. Initially, the SB in toluene solution was found to bind strongly to the surface hydroxyl groups of the unmodified membranes, an effect not observed in EA solution.