Removal of heavy metal ions from water by cross-linked carboxymethyl corn starch

B. S. Kirn, S. T. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Corn starch after cross-linking with POCl3 (1%, v/w, starch db) was carboxymethylated with sodium chloroacetate (5-20%, v/w, starch db) to examine the metal removal activity of the starch from water. The cross-linked carboxymethyl starch [degree of substitution (DS) 0.02-0.08] was dispersed (0.5-3.0%) in aqueous solutions of divalent metal ions (Cu, Pb, Cd and Hg, approximately 200 ppm), and the starch-metal complex was filtered. Removal efficiency of the metal ions from their aqueous solutions increased proportionally with the DS of the carboxymethyl group and the starch content in the solution. Ionization of the carboxymethyl groups in starch was necessary for the effective metal removal. When the starch pH was adjusted below 4.0 after carboxymethylation, the starch was no longer an effective metal binder. The metal ions interacted with starch, 10 min after the starch was added. Lead, cadmium, and mercury ions in water were almost completely removed when 1% starch (DS 0.081, pH 6.0) was used. Under the same conditions, copper concentration was reduced from 203 to 71 ppm. Starch could be recovered by washing the metal ions from the complex with weak acid (pH 2.0) although the metal-binding activity of the starch was slightly reduced by this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by a grant from the Korea Research Foundation (997-001-G00131). The authors also thank Samyang Genex Co. for donating corn starch.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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