Chitosan-carbon nanotube composite beads combines the advantages of chitosan in forming a stable biocompatible framework and carbon nanotube that provide nanometer effects (high strength and high specific surface area etc.). In this study, chitosan/amino multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CS/AMWCNT) composite beads was prepared by phase-inversion method, in which CS and AMWCNT was crosslinked by ethylene glycol diglycidyl ether (EGDE). The CS/AMWCNT nanocomposite beads produced has been characterized by BET, SEM, TGA, and Raman spectroscopy which exhibited enhanced thermal stability due to the incorporation of AMWCNT. Mechanical test results showed that mechanical strength of the CS/AMWCNT composite beads was significantly enhanced when comparing to unmodified chitosan beads, the breakage percentage decreased from 34.1% to 0.67%. The adsorption capacity for bilirubin was measured in PBS and BSA solutions, and the CS/AMWCNT composite beads with 5 wt% AMWCNT showed much higher adsorption capacity (12.7 mg/g in PBS and 7.6 mg/g in BSA) to bilirubin than chitosan beads (8.5 mg/g in PBS and 4.2 mg/g in BSA). Our nanocomposite beads with excellent hemocompatibility has a high potential application in blood purification as an efficient adsorbent for bilirubin. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2016.