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Effect of a lipopeptide biosurfactant on the precipitation of calcium carbonate

Bastrzyk, Anna, Fiedot-Toboła, Marta, Polowczyk, Izabela, Legawiec, Krzysztof, Płaza, Grażyna
Colloids and surfaces 2019 v.174 pp. 145-152
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, biomimetic synthesis, biosurfactants, calcite, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, colloids, crystals, fauna, flora, industry, metal ions, pH, polysaccharides, porosity, proteins, scanning electron microscopy, sodium carbonate, surface area, surface roughness, surfactin, vaterite
Observing flora and fauna, it can be said that nature is a great architect. Nature can create amazing structures with unique properties that may find potential applications in industry. This phenomenon is why the biomimetic synthesis of calcium carbonate with various polymorphs, sizes and morphologies using natural biomolecules, such as proteins and polysaccharides, has become an interesting topic in recent years. This novel work uses natural surfactants produced by Bacillus species (surfactins) in the formation of calcium carbonate particles. Calcium carbonate was synthesized by the reaction of Na2CO3 and CaCl2. The effects of surfactin concentration and pH on calcium carbonate crystal growth were investigated. Precipitated calcium carbonate was characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The pore size and specific surface area were measured via the BET isotherm method. Surfactin molecules were observed to prevent the transformation of vaterite into calcite in the reaction system, especially at pH 8. Surfactin possesses two negatively charged groups (COO−), which have strong affinity towards metal ions at pH 8. When the surfactin concentration was 20 ppm, the surfaces of calcite crystals were punctuated by spherical and oval depressions. Surface roughness may substantially improve the properties of the obtained structures, for example, as inorganic templates for polymeric capsules.