Flocculation of cellular suspensions by polyelectrolytes

Sandor Barany, Adam Szepesszentgyörgyi

Research output: Article

56 Citations (Scopus)


The regularities, kinetics and mechanisms of flocculation of Escherichia coli and B. thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) cellular suspensions by water-soluble polymers-and first of all cationic polyelectrolytes of different charge density and stiffness of the macromolecule chain have been investigated. The effect of the focculant dose and nature, its charge density, the hydrophobic-hydrophilic balance in macromolecule, the suspension concentration, the mode of adding the reagent, the pH and the medium composition on the degree of aggregation of cells both in perikinetic regime and in a flowing system is considered. It has been shown that the main laws of microorganism's suspension flocculation are the same as the laws of flocculation of inorganic dispersions but at the same time the first process is much more complicated because the cell-flocculant interactions are strongly affected by products of cell metabolism, components of the culture liquor, pH value, electrolyte content as well as by the changing structure of the cell surface. On the basis of complex measurements of polymer adsorption and its effect on the electrokinetic potential and degree of aggregation of cells, a conclusion is made that the aggregation of E. coli cells by flexible polyelectrolytes like polydiethylaminoethylmetacrylate and its copolymers with acrylic acid, acrylamide and vinylpyrrolidone is due to charge neutralization, while the flocculation in the presence of rigid-chain chitosan and its derivatives is caused mainly by "bridging" between cells via adsorbed macromolecules. Extraction of cells from suspension can be enhanced by combination of electroflotation and flocculation by cationic polyelectrolytes. It has been shown that dilute suspensions of Bti bacteria can be effectively flocculated and concentrated using different cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes that is necessary for its formulation and use as anti-mosquito agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1-2 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - nov. 29 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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