Recovery and Separation of Rare Earth Elements Using Columns Loaded with DNA-filter Hybrid

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    • TAKAHASHI Yoshio
    • Department of Earth and Planetary Systems Science, Hiroshima University|Laboratory for Multiple Isotope Research for Astro- and Geochemical Evolution (MIRAGE), Hiroshima University
    • MIYAJI Asami
    • Department of Earth and Planetary Systems Science, Hiroshima University
    • UMEO Miyuki
    • Department of Earth and Planetary Systems Science, Hiroshima University
    • HONMA Tetsuo
    • SPring-8, Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI)
    • ASAOKA Satoshi
    • Department of Earth and Planetary Systems Science, Hiroshima University


Given that the supply of several rare earth elements (REEs) is sometimes limited, recycling REEs used in various advanced materials, such as Nd magnets, is important for realizing efficient use of REE resources. In the present work, the feasibility of using DNA for REE recovery and separation was examined, along with the identification of the binding site of REEs in DNA. In particular, a DNA-cellulose filter paper hybrid was prepared so that DNA-based materials can be used for the separation of REEs using columns loaded with DNA. <i>N,N</i>′-Disuccinimidyl was used as a cross-linker reagent for the fixation of DNA onto a fibrous cellulose filter. The results showed that (i) the DNA-filter hybrid has a sufficiently high affinity to adsorb REEs; (ii) the adsorption capacity was 0.182 mg/g for Nd; and (iii) the affinity of REEs for DNA was stronger for REEs with larger atomic numbers. The difference of the affinity among REEs in the third result was compared with the adsorption patterns of REEs discussed in the literature. The comparison suggests that phosphate in the DNA-filter paper hybrid was responsible for REE adsorption onto the hybrid. The results were supported by the Nd, Dy, and Lu L<sub>III</sub>-edge EXAFS; the REE-P shell was identified for the second neighboring atom, showing the importance of the phosphate site as REE binding sites. The difference in the affinity among REEs suggest that group separation of REEs (such as La, Ce, (Pr and Nd), (Ho, Dy, and Er), (Tb and Gd), (Sm, Eu), Tm, Yb, and Lu) is possible, although complete isolation of each REE from a solution containing all REEs may be difficult. For practical applications, Nd and Fe(III) were successfully separated from a synthetic solution of Nd magnet waste using columns loaded with the DNA-filter hybrid.


  • Analytical Sciences

    Analytical Sciences 28(10), 985-992, 2012

    The Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry


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