Chitosan Derived Phosphate MIPs
A need as been identified for the selective binding and separation of phosphate anions form aqueous solutions. Phosphate pollution is a major concern of both natural and artificial marine environments. Excessive amounts of phosphate can fertilize algal blooms that block sunlight and consume dissolved oxygen leaving an aqueous environment that is incompatible with fish life. Sources of phosphate are many and varied. In natural environments, an overabundance of phosphates is often a result of agricultural or industrial wastewater. In artificial environments such as aquaria, excess phosphate may be caused by over feeding, build up of feces and decay or dead fish.
APL researchers have developed a novel chitosan derived molecularly imprinted polymer for the sequestration of phosphate ions under conditions mimicking marine environments. A phosphate buffer solution with a pH of approximately 8-8.5 is used for both the synthesis of the imprinted polymers and for phosphate binding test.
The synthesis of a chitosan followed by the crosslinking of uncoordinated amine and hydroxyl groups in the chitosan. The crosslinking process forms a more rigid polymer structure around the phosphate anions. Once the non-covalent MIP (ncMIP) is formed, phosphate removal is facilitated by rinsing the ncMIP with an acidic solution. The now empty ncMIP will efficiently and selectively sequester phosphate anions form the aqueous solutions.
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