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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 956945, 7 pages
Research Article

Structural Characterization of Silica Particles Extracted from Grass Stenotaphrum secundatum: Biotransformation via Annelids

1Division de Ciencias Naturales y Exactas, Departamento de Ingenieria Quimica, Universidad de Guanajuato, Campus Noria Alta, Guanajuato, GTO 36050, Mexico
2Centro de Fisica Aplicada y Tecnologia Avanzada, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Boulevard Juriquilla No. 3001, Queretaro, QRO 76230, Mexico
3Division de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigacion, Instituto Tecnologico de Queretaro, Avenida Tecnologico S/N Esq. Gral. Mariano Escobedo, Col. Centro Historico, Queretaro, QRO 76000, Mexico
4CIATEQ, Av. El Retablo 150, Queretaro, QRO 76150, Mexico

Received 16 October 2013; Revised 22 January 2014; Accepted 12 February 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: Aldo Craievich

Copyright © 2014 A. Espíndola-Gonzalez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study shows the structural characterization of silica particles extracted from Stenotaphrum secundatum (St. Augustine) grass using an annelid-based biotransformation process. This bioprocess starts when St. Augustine grass is turned into humus by vermicompost, and then goes through calcination and acid treatment to obtain silica particles. To determine the effect of the bioprocess, silica particles without biotransformation were extracted directly from the sample of grass. The characterization of the silica particles was performed using Infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), and Energy Dispersion Spectroscopy (EDS). Both types of particles showed differences in morphology and size. The particles without biotransformation were essentially amorphous while those obtained via annelids showed specific crystalline phases. The biological relationship between the metabolisms of worms and microorganisms and the organic-mineral matter causes changes to the particles' properties. The results of this study are important because they will allow synthesis of silica in cheaper and more ecofriendly ways.