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Journal of Hazardous Materials

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We developed a simple and one-step method to prepare biocompatible composites from cellulose (CEL) and chitosan (CS). [BMIm+Cl], an ionic liquid (IL), was used as a green solvent to dissolve and prepare the [CEL + CS] composites. Since majority (>88%) of IL used was recovered for reuse by distilling the aqueous washings of [CEL + CS], the method is recyclable. XRD, FTIR, NIR, 13C CP-MAS-NMR and SEM were used to monitor the dissolution and to characterize the composites. The composite was found to have combined advantages of their components: superior mechanical strength (from CEL) and excellent adsorption capability for microcystin-LR, a deadly toxin produced by cyanobacteria (from CS). Specifically, the mechanical strength of the composites increased with CEL loading; e.g., up to 5× increase in tensile strength was achieved by adding 80% of CEL into CS. Kinetic results of adsorption confirm that unique properties of CS remain intact in the composite, i.e., it is not only a very good adsorbent for microcystin but also is better than all other available adsorbents. For example, it can adsorb 4× times more microcystin than the best reported adsorbent. Importantly, the microcystin adsorbed can be quantitatively desorbed to enable the composite to be reused with similar adsorption efficiency.


Accepted version. Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 252-253 (May 2013): 355-366. DOI. © Elsevier 2013. Used with permission.

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