, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 3375–3386 | Cite as

Wet-strength agent improves recyclability of dip-catalyst fabricated from gold nanoparticle-embedded bacterial cellulose and plant fibers

  • Xiao Wu
  • Zhouyang XiangEmail author
  • Tao Song
  • Haisong Qi
Original Research


Noble metal nanoparticles (MNPs) and proper structural supporting materials can be fabricated into a sheet like catalytic composite, which is called dip-catalyst. Dip-catalyst is accentuated by its highly convenient deployment, easy separation and great recyclability. Polymeric film- or paper-based dip-catalyis has problems of low catalytic efficiency and MNP leaching or aggregation. Bacterial cellulose (BC) with its naturally nano-porous surface structure can efficiently support and stabilize the MNPs. Further compositing with plant fibers, the economy, catalytic efficiency and mechanical stiffness of the dip-catalyst may be greatly improved. However, the aqueous phase recyclability of the cellulosic fiber-based dip-catalyst is still limited, impairing its broad application. In this study, polyethylenimine (PEI) was used to crosslink BC-fiber and fiber–fiber within the BC-fiber matrix to improve the wet strength of the dip-catalyst. In detail, plant fibers were composited with the Au NP-embedded BC to fabricate a dip-catalyst through the paper handsheet making method. During the process, PEI was added as a wet-strength agent. The catalytic activity of this dip-catalyst was evaluated on the reduction of 4-nitrophenol in water by using NaBH4. Adding 1% PEI reduced the turnover frequency of 10% Au-BC sheet from 131.9 to 53.7 h−1, but greatly improved its recyclability and reusability. After reused for 30 times, reaction rate and yield was well maintained without impaired for the Au-BC catalytic sheets with PEI additions. This study promotes much broader applications for the BC-fiber dip-catalyst in chemical reactions.

Graphical abstract


Bacterial cellulose Dip-catalyst Gold nanoparticle Crosslinking Plant fiber Wet strength 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31600470), Guangzhou Science and Technology Program (Key Scientific Research Project 201707020011), Guangzhou Science and Technology Program (General Scientific Research Project 201707010053), and Guangdong Province Science Foundation for Cultivating National Engineering Research Center for Efficient Utilization of Plant Fibers (2017B090903003). The authors would also like to thank Nanjing High Tech University Biological Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd. for providing the bacterial cellulose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper EngineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Engineering Research Center for Green Fine ChemicalsGuangzhouChina

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