Granulated cork as biosorbent for the removal of phenol derivatives and emerging contaminants

This study evaluated the ability of cork to adsorb a broad range of phenolic, pharmaceutical and cosmetic compounds: phenol, 2-chlorophenol, 2-nitrophenol, 2,4-dichlorophenol, pentachlorophenol carbamazepine, naproxen, ketoprofen, diclofenac, triclosan, and methyl paraben. The effect of variables such as the compound concentrations and the amount of cork were studied resulting in a highly pH dependence in the case of phenolic compounds. Maximum removal percentages and uptake values of 75% (1.61 mg/g) for 2,4-dichlorophenol, 55% (1.25 mg/g) for 2-nitrophenol, 45% (1.47 mg/g) for 2-chlorophenol, 20% (0.63 mg/g) for phenol, and 100% for pentachlorophenol, were obtained for a 30 mg L−1 solution at pH 6, showing that the adsorption process increased with greater electronegativity of the phenolic substituting group. Removal percentages and uptakes of 82% (3.56 mg/g) for naproxen, 57% (2.31 mg/g) for ketoprofen, 50% (1.84 mg/g) for carbamazepine, 50% (1.78 mg/g) for methyl paraben, 100% for sodium diclofenac, and 100% for triclosan, were obtained using 5 mg of cork and a 1 mg L−1 solution of each compound. The adsorption process was almost complete after 30 min for all the micropollutants. Experimental equilibrium data were analysed by Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption models. Cork has proved to be an effective sorbent for the removal of phenols and emerging contaminants from contaminated waters and is a readily available material that can be acquired at minimal or no cost in cork-producing areas. 

Additional Info

  • Year: 2018
  • Authors: Mallek, M., Chtourou, M., Portillo, M., Monclús, H., Walha, K., Salah, A.B., Salvadó, V.
  • Reference: Journal of Environmental Management Volume 223, 1 October 2018, Pages 576-585

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Laboratory of Chemical and Enviromental Engineering

Institut de Medi Ambient
Universitat de Girona
Campus Montilivi
17003 Girona

Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la UdG
Edifici Jaume Casademont, Porta B
Pic de Peguera, 15
17003 Girona
Tel. +34 972 41 98 59
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