The fabrication of functional lignocellulose-based materials has drawn considerable attention because it acts as a green separation/absorption material owing to its multi-porous mesostructure. In this study, a surface functionalized lignocellulose-based adsorbent for the highly efficient capture of Cd(II) ions was prepared through facile in situ co-deposition of wood waste-derived saw powder (SP) in the presence of tannic acid (TA) and aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) mixed aqueous solution. The SP was first modified using TA-APTES coating to synthesize the functional SP substrate (SP-(TA-APTES)). The SP-(TA-APTES) hybrids served as reactive platforms, which enabled further decoration with amino-rich polyethylenimine (PEI) due to the outstanding secondary reactions of the TA-APTES layer. The surface morphology of the resulting SP-(TA-APTES)-PEI (SP-TAPI) composites were investigated using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Significantly, the combined advantages of the lignocellulosic skeleton, the layer-particle structure, and the hybrid coating contributed to the enhanced adsorption capacity of Cd(II) (up to 22.66 mg/g at pH = 5.0). This removal capacity was higher than that of most reported agricultural waste-based or lignocellulose-based materials. The Cd(II) adsorption mechanism of the surface-modified SP-TAPI composites was studied in detail. These results provide new insights into the high value-added utilization of agricultural waste for water purification applications.
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