Novel Rice Husk-Based Polymer Offers Effective Solution for Selective Fluorescent Detection and Removal of Copper from Lake Water


Scientists have developed a fluorescent sensor via a surface ion imprinting rice husk-based polymer capable of selectively detecting and efficiently adsorbing copper ions from lake water.

Environmental sustainability has become an important area of focus in scientific research. A new study published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy details a new, environmentally friendly solution that involves using a novel rice husk-based Cu2+ ion-imprinted polymer (RH-CIIP) that can detect copper ions from lake water (1).

Cabin on a lake in Algonquin Provincial Park | Image Credit: © Randy Runtsch -

Cabin on a lake in Algonquin Provincial Park | Image Credit: © Randy Runtsch -

The newly created polymer is able to accomplish this feat by using an ion receptor comprised of an organosilane compound containing hydroxyl and Schiff base groups (OHSBG) (1). For the templates, the polymer uses fluorescent chromophores, a cross-linking agent, and Cu2+ ions (1). In the study, RH-CIIP demonstrated excellent selectivity as a fluorescent sensor for Cu2+ when compared to non-imprinted polymers (RH-CNIP) without the ion receptor (1). The fluorescent sensor for the Cu2+ ions was excited at 380 nm and emitted at 544 nm (1).

The limit of detection (LOD) for Cu2+ was determined to be 5.62 μg/L, significantly below the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for Cu2+ in drinking water, which is 2 mg/L (1). According to the authors of this study, this LOD outperforms previously reported methods (1). Additionally, the RH-CIIP exhibits impressive adsorption capabilities, with an adsorption capacity of 87.8 mg/g for efficient removal of Cu2+ from lake water (1).

The kinetics of the adsorption process adhered to the pseudo-second-order model (1). Meanwhile, the sorption isotherm aligned with the Langmuir model (1). Investigating RH-CIIP and Cu2+ ions further allowed the researchers to learn more about their chemical behavior. The research team used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and theoretical calculations to accomplish this goal (1).

RH-CIIP is an application that can be used in practice. Its practicality was demonstrated through its ability to remove nearly 99% of Cu2+ ions from lake water samples, meeting the standards set for safe drinking water (1). This groundbreaking development opens up new possibilities for eco-friendly and sustainable approaches to water treatment and environmental protection, paving the way for future advancements in selective detection and efficient removal of heavy metal contaminants (1).

Therefore, to conclude, the researchers demonstrated that the fabrication of surface ion imprinting rice husk-based polymers can help improve our water resources, making them safer and cleaner. As a result, the study highlights that natural and renewable materials can be used environmental remediation (1).


(1) Lv, X.; Hu, H.; Yao, L.; Deng, L.; Liu, X.; Yu, L.; He, H. Fabrication of surface ion imprinting rice husk-based polymer for selective detection and efficient adsorption of Cu2+ in lake water. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2023, 298, 122723. DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2023.122723

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