Agglomeration of Viruses by Cationic Lignin Particles for Facilitated Water Purification

Authors: Riviere, Guillaume N.; Korpi, Antti; Sipponen, Mika Henrikki; Zou, Tao; Kostiainen, Mauri A.; Osterberg, Monika


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Abstract: Virus contamination of water is a threat to human health in many countries. Current solutions for inactivation of viruses mainly rely on environmentally burdensome chemical oxidation or energy-intensive ultraviolet irradiation, which may create toxic secondary products. Here, we show that renewable plant biomass-sourced colloidal lignin particles (CLPs) can be used as agglomeration agents to facilitate removal of viruses from water. We used dynamic light scattering (DLS), electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (AFM, TEM), and UV spectrophotometry to quantify and visualize adherence of cowpea chlorotic mottle viruses (CCMVs) on CLPs. Our results show that CCMVs form agglomerated complexes with CLPs that, unlike pristine virus particles, can be easily removed from water either by filtration or centrifugation. Additionally, cationic particles formed by adsorption of quaternary amine-modified softwood kraft lignin on the CLPs were also evaluated to improve the binding interactions with these anionic viruses. We foresee that due to their moderate production cost, and high availability of lignin as a side-stream from biorefineries, CLPs could be an alternative water pretreatment material in a large variety of systems such as filters, packed columns, or flocculants.

KEYWORDS: Colloidal lignin particles, Lignin nanoparticles, Virus interaction, Water treatment

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