Alginate-based composites for environmental applications: a critical review

Bing Wang, Yongshan Wan, Yuling Zheng, Xinqing Lee, Taoze Liu, Zebin Yu, Jun Huang, Yong Sik Ok, Jianjun Chen, Bin Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Citations (Scopus)


Alginate-based composites have been extensively studied for applications in energy and environmental sectors due to their biocompatible, nontoxic, and cost-effective properties. This review is designed to provide an overview of the synthesis and application of alginate-based composites. In addition to an overview of current understanding of alginate biopolymer, gelation process, and cross-linking mechanisms, this work focuses on adsorption mechanisms and performance of different alginate-based composites for the removal of various pollutants including dyes, heavy metals, and antibiotics in water and wastewater. While encapsulation in alginate gel beads confers protective benefits to engineered nanoparticles, carbonaceous materials, cells and microbes, alginate-based composites typically exhibit enhanced adsorption performance. The physical and chemical properties of alginate-based composites determine the effectiveness under different application conditions. A series of alginate-based composites and their physicochemical and sorptive properties have been summarized. This critical review not only summarizes recent advances in alginate-based composites but also presents a perspective of future work for their environmental applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-356
Number of pages39
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 16


  • Alginate
  • antibiotics
  • dyes
  • heavy metals
  • hydrogel
  • nanocomposites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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