Superhydrophobic/superoleophilic corn straw as an eco-friendly oil sorbent for the removal of spilled oil

  • Xuefei Tan
  • Hui-Min David Wang
  • Deli Zang
  • Lijun Wu
  • Feng Liu
  • Guoliang Cao
  • Yongping Xu
  • Shih-Hsin HoEmail author
Original Paper


Here, a distinctive eco-friendly corn straw material with preferable superhydrophobicity and superoleophilicity for separating oil from liquid mixtures is proposed. The raw corn straw was successfully modified by deposition of SiO2/ZnO composite particles on the fiber surface and subsequent hydrophobic modification with octyltriethoxysilane. The modified corn straw was found to have preferable chemical durability and environmental continuance, with water and oil contact angles of 152° and 0°, respectively, allowing it to both selectively adsorb oils and completely repel water. In addition, it was provided with a high capacity of sorption, making it an ideal candidate for potential oil spill cleanup applications. Due to its natural attributes to float on water, it is convenient for transportation after the oil adsorption is completed. Hence, the modified corn straw provides an eco-friendly alternative for the cleanup of oil spills, as well as a means to relieve the environmental problem of agricultural waste disposal.

Graphic abstract


Oil sorbent Corn straw Superhydrophobic Superoleophilic Octyltriethoxysilane Clean technology 


Author contributions

XT and H-MDW performed the experiments and wrote the paper. DZ and LW performed the experiments. FL and GC contributed in materials preparation and their surface analysis. YX analyzed the data. S-HH conceived designed the experiments. All the experiments were performed under the supervision of S-HH. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was funded by The Science and Technology Project of Heilongjiang Provincial Education Department (12541682); Heilongjiang Institute of Technology Innovation Training Program (201811802072).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuefei Tan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hui-Min David Wang
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Deli Zang
    • 7
  • Lijun Wu
    • 1
  • Feng Liu
    • 7
  • Guoliang Cao
    • 2
  • Yongping Xu
    • 8
  • Shih-Hsin Ho
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Materials and Chemical EngineeringHeilongjiang Institute of TechnologyHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, School of EnvironmentHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Dalian SEM Bio-Engineering Technology Co., LtdDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Graduate Institute of Biomedical EngineeringNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Medical Laboratory Science and BiotechnologyChina Medical UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan
  6. 6.Graduate Institute of Medicine, College of MedicineKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiung CityTaiwan
  7. 7.Key Laboratory of Bio-Based Material Science and Technology, Ministry of EducationNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  8. 8.School of BioengineeringDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China

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