Spectroscopic study of Zn2+ and Co2+ binding to extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) from aerobic granules

Xue Fei Sun, Shu Guang Wang*, Xiao Min Zhang, J. Paul Chen, Xiao Ming Li, Bao Yu Gao, Yue Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The interacting mechanisms of metallic cations (Zn2+ and Co2+) to active chemical groups on the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of the aerobic granules, including loosely bound EPS (LB-EPS) and tightly bound EPS (TB-EPS), were examined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. For Zn2+ and Co2+, LB-EPS showed stronger binding properties than TB-EPS and the process of them was described well by the Langmuir isotherm. Compared to the single-metal system, binary-metal addition induced competitive binding between the Zn2+ and Co2+ with reduction of the maximal binding capacity for both EPS. The main chemical groups involved in the interactions between contaminants were apparently alcohol, carboxyl and amino. These groups were part of the EPS structural polymers, namely, polysaccharides, proteins, and hydrocarbon-like products. When biosorption and flocculation occurred at the same time, the LB-EPS were used not only as chelate sorbents but also as flocculants to further enhance their sorption capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic granules
  • Bind
  • Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)
  • Metal ions
  • XPS analysis

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