Methylan, a polysaccharide produced from Methylobacterium organophilum, was chemically modified by adding diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) group to the backbone of methylan. The structure of DEAE-methylan was determined by measuring its nitrogen content obtained from an elemental analysis. From the analysis of mass spectrum, the DEAE group in DEAE-methylan was also confirmed by determining diethylaminoethene as a separate form of DEAE. Mercury adsorption of DEAE-methylan was higher than that of native methylan. This fact was valid for a variety of pH, reaction times, metal concentrations, and polysaccharide concentrations. In particular, native methylan and DEAE-methylan adsorbed 16% (w/w) and 18% (w/w) for mercury after 30 min at pH 7, respectively. The increase in mercury adsorption of DEAE-methylan may be resulted from mercury adsorption by the lone pair electron of nitrogen atom in DEAE group.
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