Adsorption and Recovery of Polyphenolic Flavonoids Using TiO2-Functionalized Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

M. Arif Khan, William T. Wallace, Syed Z. Islam, Suraj Nagpure, Joseph Strzalka, John M. Littleton, Stephen E. Rankin, Barbara L. Knutson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Exploiting specific interactions with titania (TiO2) has been proposed for the separation and recovery of a broad range of biomolecules and natural products, including therapeutic polyphenolic flavonoids which are susceptible to degradation, such as quercetin. Functionalizing mesoporous silica with TiO2 has many potential advantages over bulk and mesoporous TiO2 as an adsorbent for natural products, including robust synthetic approaches leading to high surface area, and stable separation platforms. Here, TiO2-surface-functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) are synthesized and characterized as a function of TiO2 content (up to 636 mg TiO2/g). The adsorption isotherms of two polyphenolic flavonoids, quercetin and rutin, were determined (0.05-10 mg/mL in ethanol), and a 100-fold increase in the adsorption capacity was observed relative to functionalized nonporous particles with similar TiO2 surface coverage. An optimum extent of functionalization (approximately 440 mg TiO2/g particles) is interpreted from characterization techniques including grazing incidence X-ray scattering (GIXS), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), and nitrogen adsorption, which examined the interplay between the extent of TiO2 functionalization and the accessibility of the porous structures. The recovery of flavonoids is demonstrated using ligand displacement in ethanolic citric acid solution (20% w/v), in which greater than 90% recovery can be achieved in a multistep extraction process. The radical scavenging activity (RSA) of the recovered and particle-bound quercetin as measured by a 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay demonstrates greater than 80% retention of antioxidant activity by both particle-bound and recovered quercetin. These mesoporous titanosilicate materials can serve as a synthetic platform to isolate, recover, and potentially deliver degradation-sensitive natural products to biological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32114-32125
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • adsorption
  • flavonoid
  • functionalization
  • silica nanoparticles
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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