Sorptive removal of phenolic endocrine disruptors by functionalized biochar: Competitive interaction mechanism, removal efficacy and application in wastewater

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Journal Article
Chemical Engineering Journal, 2018, 335 pp. 801 - 811
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Sorptive removal of six phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2), bisphenol A (BPA) and 4-tert-butylphenol (4tBP) by functionalized biochar (fBC) through competitive interactions was investigated. EDC sorption was pH dependent with the maximum sorption at pH 3.0–3.5 due to hydrogen bonds and π-π interactions as the principal sorptive mechanism. Sorption isotherm of the EDCs was fitted to the Langmuir model. Sorption capacities and distribution coefficient values followed the order E1 > E2 ≥ EE2 > BPA > 4tBP > E3. The findings suggested that EDC sorption occurred mainly through pseudo-second order and external mass transfer diffusion processes, by forming H-bonds along with π-π electron-donor–acceptor (EDA) interactions at different pH. The complete removal of ∼500 μg L−1 of each EDC from different water decreased in the order: deionised water > membrane bioreactor (MBR) sewage effluent > synthetic wastewater. The presence of sodium lauryl sulphonate and acacia gum in synthetic wastewater significantly suppressed sorption affinity of EDCs by 38–50%, hence requiring more fBC to maintain removal efficacy.
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