Polymer flocculants are used to promote solid–liquid separation processes in potable water and wastewater treatment. Recently, bio-based flocculants have received a lot of attention due to their superior advantages over conventional synthetic polymers or inorganic agents. Among natural polymers, polysaccharides show many benefits such as biodegradability, non-toxicity, ability to undergo different chemical modifications, and wide accessibility from renewable sources. The following article provides an overview of bio-based flocculants and their potential application in water treatment, which may be an indication to look for safer alternatives compared to synthetic polymers. Based on the recent literature, a new approach in searching for biopolymer flocculants sources, flocculation mechanisms, test methods, and factors affecting this process are presented. Particular attention is paid to flocculants based on starch, cellulose, chitosan, and their derivatives because they are low-cost and ecological materials, accepted in industrial practice. New trends in water treatment technology, including biosynthetic polymers, nanobioflocculants, and stimulant-responsive flocculants are also considered.
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