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Research Project: Commercial Flocculants from Low-Value Animal Protein

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Title: The relationship between extent of hemoglobin purification and the performance characteristics of a blood-based flocculant

item Garcia, Rafael
item Bumanlag, Lorelie
item Piazza, George

Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2017
Publication Date: 4/6/2017
Citation: Garcia, R.A., Bumanlag, L.P., Piazza, G.J. 2017. The relationship between extent of hemoglobin purification and the performance characteristics of a blood-based flocculant. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 97(14):4822-4826.

Interpretive Summary: Blood is an under-utilized by-product of meat production. Previous work has shown that both whole blood and a blood component called hemoglobin can be used as bio-based substitutes for a conventional water treatment chemical. Unknown was whether it is better to use the whole blood or to go to the additional expense of purifying the hemoglobin from the blood. This project addressed the issue by purifying hemoglobin to four different extents, and comparing these preparations in terms of water treatment performance. Although previous research has led us to believe that hemoglobin is the main “active ingredient” responsible for blood’s water treatment properties, the results showed that purified hemoglobin is not more potent that whole blood, and in some ways it is inferior. The results showed that if a blood-based water treatment chemical were to be produced commercially, extensive processing would not be necessary to yield a product with high potency. This improves the outlook for the economic viability of this technology.

Technical Abstract: Whole blood is a highly complex substance. Hemoglobin, the most abundant blood protein, can function as a flocculant of colloidal clay; most of the other blood components exhibit poor flocculant activity. For the purpose of processing raw whole blood into a flocculant product, the practical value of hemoglobin purification is uncertain. This study compares the flocculant performance of whole blood to that of three different semi-purified hemoglobin preparations. The whole blood is processed to remove the plasma proteins, the solid cell components, or both. The flocculant performance of whole blood and each hemoglobin preparation is compared over wide ranges of flocculant dose and suspension pH. The clarified liquids are examined increased in chemical oxygen demand and Kjeldahl nitrogen. It is shown that removal of the plasma and the cell solids do not improve the flocculant performance or lessen the residual pollutants in the treated water.