Bovine Serum Albumin Adsorption to Iron-Oxide Coated Sands Can Change Microsphere Deposition Mechanisms

Raymond M. Flynn, Xinyao Yang, Thilo Hofmann, Frank Von Der Kammer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Particulate colloids often occur together with proteins in sewage-impacted water. Using Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) as a surrogate for protein in sewage, column experiments investigating the capacity of iron-oxide coated sands to remove latex microspheres from water revealed that microsphere attenuation mechanisms depended on antecedent BSA coverage. Dual pulse experiment (DPE) results suggested that where all BSA was adsorbed, subsequent multiple pore volume microsphere breakthrough curves reflected progressively reduced colloid deposition rates with increasing adsorbed BSA content. Modelling colloid responses suggested adsorption of 1 µg BSA generated the same response as blockage by between 7.1x108 and 2.3x109 deposited microspheres. By contrast, microsphere responses in DPEs where BSA coverage of the deposition sites approached/ reached saturation revealed the coated sand maintained a finite capacity to attenuate microspheres, even when incapable of further BSA adsorption. Subsequent microsphere breakthrough curves demonstrated the matrix’s colloid attenuation capacity progressively increased with continued microsphere deposition. Experimental findings suggested BSA adsorption on the sand surface approaching/ reaching saturation generated attractive deposition sites for colloids, which became progressively more attractive with further colloid deposition (filter ripening). Results demonstrate that adsorption of a single type of protein may either enhance or inhibit colloid mobility in saturated porous media.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2583-2591
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental science & technology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Chemistry(all)
    • Environmental Chemistry


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