Development of novel sericin and alginate-based biosorbents for precious metal removal from wastewater

  • Nilza Tatiane das Graças Santos
  • Meuris Gurgel Carlos da Silva
  • Melissa Gurgel Adeodato VieiraEmail author
Alternative Adsorbent Materials for Application in Processes Industrial


In this study, two novel low water-soluble sericin and alginate-based biosorbents were successfully developed for precious metal removal from wastewater: sericin and alginate particles chemically crosslinked by proantocyanidins (SAPAs) and sericin, alginate and polyvinyl alcohol particles (SAPVA). The proportions of proantocynidins (PAs) or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) added to sericin (2.5% w/v) and alginate (2.0% w/v) blend were 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5% w/v. Among these concentrations, particles produced with 0.5% w/v of PVA or 2.5% w/v of PAs presented the lowest water solubility percentages (3.74 ± 0.05 and 3.56 ± 0.21%, respectively) and the following metallic affinity order: AuCl4 > PdCl42− > PtCl62− > Ag+. Then, gold biosorption kinetics by SAPAs was evaluated at three gold initial concentrations (72.88, 187.12, and 273.79 mg/L), and its performance was compared to activated carbon adsorbent uptake. The data modeling revealed that the process follows pseudo-first-order kinetics and is mainly controlled by external diffusion. SAPAs before and after gold biosorption (SAPAs-gold) were characterized by scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, optical microscopy, helium pycnometry, mercury porosimetry, N2 physisorption, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy.


Biosorption Precious metals Sericin and alginate Gold adsorption Proanthocyanidins Polyvinyl alcohol 



The authors would like to acknowledge Bratac Silk Mills Company for Bombyx mori silkworm cocoon donation.

Funding information

This work was financed by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Grant # 2017/18236-1.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nilza Tatiane das Graças Santos
    • 1
  • Meuris Gurgel Carlos da Silva
    • 1
  • Melissa Gurgel Adeodato Vieira
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil

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