Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Evaluation of Chitosan and Chitosan - Ag Electrospun Membranes for Lead And Bacterial Removal From Potable Water of Puerto Rico

EPA Grant Number: SU835325
Title: Evaluation of Chitosan and Chitosan - Ag Electrospun Membranes for Lead And Bacterial Removal From Potable Water of Puerto Rico
Investigators: Valentin, Ricky
Current Investigators: Valentin, Ricky , Artes, Daniel , Suarez, Marielis , Vega Avila, Ana Lucia
Institution: University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $14,916
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemistry , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability



The objective of this project is to determine the effectiveness of electrospun chitosan nanofibers and electrospun Chitosan-Ag composite membranes, to remove lead and bacteria from residential water in Puerto Rico. This objective will be met by evaluating the following hypotheses.

  • Hypothesis 1: Electrospun nanofibers with high surface are suitable material for Lead and bacteria removal from water.
  • Hypothesis 2: Silver nanoparticles have a synergic effect in the antibacterial properties of chitosan.
  • Hypothesis 3: Processing parameters of electrospun membranes highly influence the lead and bacterial removal capacity of chitosan and chitosan –Ag nanocomposite.
  • Hypothesis 4: Chitosan –Ag electrospun membranes can potentially replace to traditional activated carbon, as active material for lead and bacteria removal from drinking water.


We will prepare a water treatment system based on electrospun nanofiber membranes of chitosan and Chitosan–Ag, which is expected to effectively remove Pb and bacteria from drinking water, based in the synergetic effect of chelating and bactericide properties of chitosan and the biocide effect of Ag in bacteria. The controllable porosity of electrospun membranes will confer filter functionalities to the membranes.

The system proposed here is based in chitosan, which has proved to be biodegradable, is often more effective than other more expensive synthetic materials for water treatment and also has the potential to be regenerated. Thanks to these properties, cartridges for water treatment based in chitosan nanofibers are expected to be a solution to contamination problems generated by systems based in activated carbon or other synthetic materials, which must be periodically replaced, having to disposed of the contaminated filters because their regeneration is very expensive and when reused can result in efficiency loss of the system.

Expected Results:

We expect that cartridges for water system treatment based in chitosan nanofibers will be more effective than traditional systems, because their high surface area, capacity to remove heavy metal (anions and cations), bactericide properties, feasibility to be regenerated and biodegradability, which is a meaningful contribution for water pollution control, environmental pollution prevention, and human welfare.

Supplemental Keywords:

electrospinning, drinking water treatment, bioadsorbants

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report