Bioflocculants Relevant for Water Treatment and Remediation

Authored by: K. A. Natarajan , K. Karthiga Devi

Sustainability in the Mineral and Energy Sectors

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498733021
eBook ISBN: 9781315369853
Adobe ISBN:


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Flocculation is extensively employed for clarification through aggregation of colloids and other suspended particles in a suspension to form flocs. Flocculation finds usefulness in many fields such as wastewater treatment; downstream processing, food and fermentation processes. Flocculating agents could be inorganic, synthetic, or natural. Typical examples of natural flocculating agents are bioflocculants produced by microorganisms. Bioflocculants are the metabolic products of microorganisms produced during their growth. They are usually high molecular weight biopolymers, and are synthesized and released outside the cell. Application of eco-friendly bioflocculants in wastewater treatment has attracted significant attention lately with high removal capability in terms of suspended solids, turbidity, color, dyes, and heavy metals. Natural polysaccharides derived from microorganisms are chemically modified by inclusion of synthetic, nonbiodegradable monomers onto their backbone to produce bioflocculants. This chapter is aimed to provide an overview of the development and flocculating efficiencies of microbes-based bioflocculants. Furthermore, the processing methods, characterization strategies, flocculation mechanism, and the current challenges are discussed. Commercial applicability of bioflocculants in the treatment of waste water for removal of heavy metals, suspended solids, color, and turbidity is illustrated with examples. Hence, the possibility to apply natural bioflocculants in food and beverage, mineral industries is discussed and evaluated.

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