Journal of Hazardous Materials
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.