Sustainable soy protein microsponges for efficient removal of lead (II) from aqueous environments

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Sara Anselmo
  • Tiziana Avola
  • Kleopatra Kalouta
  • Salvatore Cataldo
  • Giuseppe Sancataldo
  • Nicola Muratore
  • Foderà, Vito
  • Valeria Vetri
  • Alberto Pettignano

Protein-based materials recently emerged as good candidates for water cleaning applications, due to the large availability of the constituent material, their biocompatibility and the ease of preparation. In this work, new adsorbent biomaterials were created from Soy Protein Isolate (SPI) in aqueous solution using a simple environmentally friendly procedure. Protein microsponge-like structures were produced and characterized by means of spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy methods. The efficiency of these structures in removing Pb2+ ions from aqueous solutions was evaluated by investigating the adsorption mechanisms. The molecular structure and, consequently, the physico-chemical properties of these aggregates can be readily tuned by selecting the pH of the solution during production. In particular, the presence of β-structures typical of amyloids as well as an environment characterized by a lower dielectric constant seem to enhance metal binding affinity revealing that hydrophobicity and water accessibility of the material are key features affecting the adsorption efficiency. Presented results provide new knowledge on how raw plant proteins can be valorised for the production of new biomaterials. This may offer extraordinary opportunities towards the design and production of new tailorable biosorbents which can also be exploited for several cycles of purification with minimal reduction in performance. Synopsis: Innovative, sustainable plant-protein biomaterials with tunable properties are presented as green solution for water purification from lead(II) and the structure-function relationship is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124276
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Adsorption, Amyloid superstructures, Green chemistry, Lead, Soy, Water contamination

ID: 344715374