Rapid and efficient removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous media using cysteine-modified polymer nanowires

Sagar Tolani, Amos Mugweru, Michael Craig, Adam K. Wanekaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We report the development of a novel, simple, and highly effective polymeric material with nanoscale dimensions for use in removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous media. The nanomaterial was ∼ 200 nm in diameter and several microns long and was fabricated in the form of nanowires via template-directed electrochemical polymerization. The nanowires were covalently modified by cysteine, a nonessential amino acid with very high binding constants for selected toxic heavy metal ions, such as, As3+, Cd2+, Pb2+, and Cu2+ . We demonstrated rapid and efficient removal of As3+, Cd2+, Pb2+, and Cu 2+ ions from natural water samples. The arsenic removal capacity was found to be ∼ 160 mg As3+ per gram of the material, a substantially greater removal capacity than other materials reported to date. The removal capacity of other heavy metals ions was also rapid and effective, their concentrations becoming undetectable in a matter of minutes after treatment with the nanowires. These nanowires have demonstrated potential that could lead to a low cost, novel, and highly effective technique for use in treatment of drinking water and for other environmental remediation purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 5 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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