• biological applications of polymers;
  • block copolymers;
  • micelles


The micelles of a recently synthesized copolymer of poly(vinyl alcohol)-b-polyacrylonitrile added to the growth solution of the filamentous yeast Trichosporon cutaneum strain R57 led to the formation of a binary system consisting of micelles and cells. The resulting micelle/cell system was studied as a model for the removal of toxic concentrations of heavy-metal ions (cadmium and copper) from aqueous solutions. The ion-removal efficiency mediated by this system was higher than for free-floating cells. The copper-removal efficiency from the solution reached a level of 65% after 24 h of cultivation, whereas the cadmium-removal efficiency reached 62% after 6 h of growth. For comparison, the free-floating cells removed 42% of copper and only 38% of cadmium from the solutions. The effects of surface interactions between the cells and polymer micelles on the biosorption capacity of the cells are discussed in the article. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010