Insight into the role and mechanism of polysaccharide in polymorphous magnesium oxide nanoparticle synthesis for arsenate removal

Li Guo, Runlong Lei, Tian C. Zhang, Dongyun Du, Wei Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The low cost and non-toxic of magnesium oxides make it a potential eco-friendly material for arsenic removal. Polysaccharide is a kind of green modifier to obtain nanoscale MgO particles with a higher adsorption affinity. In this study, the impact of chain structures of polysaccharides on the morphology features and arsenate removal efficiency of MgO-NPs were investigated. Pullulan and starch facilitated the synthesis of flower-like MgO-NPs, and pectin facilitated the synthesis of plate-like ones. Although the two kinds of flower-like MgO-NPs undergone similar time to reach equilibrium, the one obtained from the starch-synthesis route showed a higher arsenate adsorption capacity (98 mg g−1), due to that their bushy and smaller petals on the surface provide more active sites for arsenic adsorption. The pectin-synthesis route also produced MgO-NPs with higher arsenate adsorption capacity (101 mg g−1), ascribed to stacking of nano-plates on their surfaces facilitated to form defect surfaces. However, due to their lower BET area, the plate-like MgO-NPs took twice times to reach equilibrium for arsenic adsorption compared with the others. In the stage for the hydrolysis of MgO, hydroxyl groups on the polymer chain provide active sites to physically trap or bond with MgO particles and then to produce hydrolyzed precursors. The poly chain containing inter- and intra-hydroxyl groups directed MgO molecular growing into hydroxide crystals with 3D frameworks during their nucleation and growth. However, pectin only provides inter-hydroxyl groups and directs to form hydroxides with 2D frameworks. Furthermore, the rapid-nucleation vs. slow-growth model in the stage of pyrolysis of hydroxide crystals successfully interprets the thinner petals and complex chemical phases of the final nanoparticles obtained from the pullulan-synthesis route. This work may provide direction and perspectives for the rational design of well-performing MgO materials for arsenate removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133878
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arsenate removal
  • Magnesium oxide nanoparticles
  • Polymorphous
  • Polysaccharides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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