Phosphate separation from aqueous solution using a chitosan-based biodegradable ion exchanger

Jae Woo Choi, Sang-Hyup Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


To remove phosphate (Pi) from wastewater, a novel, low-cost adsorbent was developed by immobilizing copper ions (Cu2+) on a naturally available biopolymer chitosan. The copper ions bound to chitosan through its complex formation with the amino and hydroxyl groups in the polymer chain. This complex formation could reduce the size of the hydrogels and thus increase the density of the natural biopolymer. The chelating interaction between nitrogen and copper enabled the intra- and inter-molecular cross-linking, thereby improving the physical and chemical stability of the polymeric ligand exchanger. Most importantly, Cu2+ ions could serve as the active functional group for Pi removal from aqueous solution. The polymeric ligand exchanger displayed a greater affinity with Pi rather than sulfate due to the electrostatic and Lewis acid/base interactions between immobilized Cu2+ and Pi, regardless of the solution pH. Batch adsorption experiments showed that the polymeric ligand exchanger had the maximum capacity of approximately 85 mg/g in Pi solutions. The polymeric ligand exchanger could also be applied to a fixed-bed column reactor, demonstrating the high performance on the Pi removal from aqueous solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhosphorus Recovery and Recycling
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789811080319
ISBN (Print)9789811080302
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 25


  • Adsorption
  • Chitosan
  • Cross-linking agent
  • Phosphate removal
  • Polymeric ligand exchanger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphate separation from aqueous solution using a chitosan-based biodegradable ion exchanger'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this