Pelletized biomaterial composites that contain chitosan (C) and torrefied wheat straw (S) at variable weight composition (C:S) were prepared using a facile blending process. The fractional content of the wheat straw was studied to elucidate the role of biomass on the pelletized product and effects of S-content on the physicochemical properties relevant to adsorption phenomena. Chitosan pellets (with and without S) were characterized by spectroscopic (FT-IR and 13
C NMR) and thermal (TGA and DSC) techniques to provide support for their respective C:S composition. Confocal microscopy using fluorescein (FL) as a dye probe revealed the presence and an increase in the accessibility of the active sites for the composite pellets according to the S-content (wt %). Equilibrium and kinetic sorption studies using FL and reactive black (RB) dyes revealed an incremental adsorption affinity of the pellets with anionic dyes in variable charge states (FL and RB). The trend for dye adsorption parallels the incremental S-content (wt %) in the composite pellets. This study reports a first-example
of a low-cost, facile, and sustainable approach for the valorization of straw and chitosan suitable for sorption-based applications in aqueous media.
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