Strong, anti-swelling, and biodegradable seaweed-based straws with surface mineralized CaCO3 armor

Yuanpu Liu, Wen Peng, Ting Wei, Yajie Yuan, Xianyu Cao, Meng Ma, Qingjie Sun, Man Li, Fengwei Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the extensive utilization of disposable plastic straws has resulted in significant environmental issues such as microplastics and soil and ocean pollution, the quest for alternative straws for versatile use remains a formidable challenge. Here, drawing inspiration from naturally water-resistant materials such as bones and sea urchins, we have developed seaweed-based straws with significantly improved water resistance and mechanical strength via in-situ mineralization of CaCO3 on their surfaces. Specifically, the –COO groups on the G (α-L-guluronate) blocks of alginate were employed to establish a robust cross-linked network, while the –COO groups on the M (β-D-mannuronate) blocks attracted free Ca2+ through electrostatic forces, thereby promoting CaCO3 nucleation. This effectively prevents –COOH groups from hydrating, reducing swelling, and results in the fabrication of nano- to micron-sized CaCO3 particles that reinforce the structure without compromising the cross-linked network. Compared with the control group, the S5% sample (prepared with 5 % Na2CO3 solution) exhibited a 102 % increase in water contact angle, a 35 % decrease in swelling degree, and a 35.5 % and 37.5 % increase in ultimate flexural and tensile stress, respectively. Furthermore, the potential use of these straws as a waste for heavy metal adsorption was investigated, addressing environmental concerns while demonstrating economic feasibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122347
Number of pages12
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Early online date31 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2024

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request. Source data are provided in this paper.


  • Alginate
  • Biodegradable straws
  • Directional diffusion assembly
  • In-situ mineralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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