Protein fractionation of Hibiscus cannabinus (Kenaf) seeds, its characterization, and potential use for water treatment

Benjamin U Okoro*, Soroosh Sharifi, Mike Jesson, John Bridgeman

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study evaluates the coagulation performance of kenaf protein fractions (KPFs) comprising of albumin (AlbKP), globulin (GloKP), prolamin (ProKP), and glutenin (GluKP), in the treatment of high (500 NTU), medium (150 NTU), and low (30 NTU) turbidity water. Based on preliminary experimental results, the study focused on GloKP due to it outperforming the other kenaf coagulation products (KCPs) in all water types tested. The influence of GloKP, both as a primary coagulant and coagulant aid to aluminum sulfate (AS) on organic matter removal, was examined. Parametric analysis on turbidity, TSS, pH, dosages, retention time, and KPFs storage time was completed. Results indicated that GloKP could be used both as a primary coagulant and coagulant aid. GloKP had a higher turbidity and solids removal than the AlbKP and other KPFs (ProKP and GluKP). Solution pH greatly influenced the performance of the GloKP, and optimum dosage at pH 2 resulted in the highest organic matter removal. High dosages also resulted in negative mobility of particles and a more stable suspension. When used as a coagulant aid to AS, GloKP was more effective in removing dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Scanning electron microscopy elemental analysis (SEM‐EDAX) and Fourier transform infrared (FT‐IR) spectra showed the structure of the KPFs. SEM‐EDAX indicated the presence of metal cations capable of forming complexes essential for flocs formation. The enhanced floc formation, detailed in this paper, is ascribed to the collective effect of charge neutralization of the AS species and the adsorption and bridging effect of the GloKP, which improves the bonds formed between flocs. The coagulation–flocculation process can be significantly improved using dual coagulants. GloKP was also an excellent alternative to its crude (CrKP) and solvent extract (HxKP) form for removing suspended and dissolved particles from all water types. Practitioner Points: Kenaf protein fractionates can destabilize stable particles. The globulin protein fractionate (GloKP) aggregated the most particles and contained least dissolved organic material. GloKP is pH sensitive with pH 2 reported as best working pH. Coagulant dosage and coagulation mechanism were assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10805
Number of pages19
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number11
Early online date18 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2022


  • Coagulation
  • nature-based (plant-based) coagulants
  • Organic matter
  • Drinking water
  • Water treatment
  • water treatment
  • nature‐based (plant‐based) coagulants
  • organic matter
  • drinking water
  • coagulation


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