Biodegradable hollow zein nanoparticles for removal of reactive dyes from wastewater

Helan Xu, Yue Zhang, Qiuran Jiang, Narendra Reddy, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


In this study, biodegradable hollow zein nanoparticles with diameters less than 100nm were developed to remove reactive dyes from simulated post-dyeing wastewater with remarkably high efficiency. Reactive dyes are widely used to color cellulosic materials, such as cotton and rayon. Wastewater from reactive dyeing process contains up to 50% dye and electrolytes with concentrations up to 100gL-1. Current methods to remove reactive dyes from wastewater are suffering from low adsorption capacities or low biodegradability of the sorbents. In this research, biodegradable zein nanoparticles showed high adsorption capacities for dyes. Hollow zein nanoparticles showed higher adsorption for Reactive Blue 19 than solid structures, and the adsorption amount increased as temperature decreased, pH decreased or initial dye concentration increased. At pH 6.5 and pH 9.0, increasing electrolyte concentration could improve dye adsorption significantly. Under simulated post-dyeing condition with 50.0gL-1 salt and pH 9.0, maximum adsorption of 1016.0mg dye per gram zein nanoparticles could be obtained. The adsorption capacity was much higher than that of various biodegradable adsorbents developed to remove reactive dye. It is suggested that the hollow zein nanoparticles are good candidates to remove reactive dye immediately after dyeing process. •Biodegradable hollow protein nanoparticles (<100nm) were fabricated from the agricultural byproduct, corn zein.•Maximum adsorption of Reactive Blue 19 was 1016mg per gram of hollow zein nanoparticles.•Electrolyte in the dyeing effluent significantly promoted the adsorption of reactive dye onto zein nanoparticles.•Hollow zein nanoparticles could effectively remove reactive dyes from real post-dyeing wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Aug 5 2013


  • Adsorption
  • Hollow zein nanoparticles
  • Langmuir isotherm
  • Reactive Blue 19
  • Simulated dyeing effluent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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