Phenolic carbon tailored for the removal of polar organic contaminants from water: A solution to the metaldehyde problem?

Busquets, Rosa, Kozynchenkob, Oleksandr P., Whtiby, Raymond L. D., Tennison, Stephen R. and Cundy, Andrew B. (2014) Phenolic carbon tailored for the removal of polar organic contaminants from water: A solution to the metaldehyde problem? Water Research, 61, pp. 46-56. ISSN (print) 0043-1354

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Current water treatment technologies are inefficient at treating water contaminated with metaldehyde, an 8-member cyclic tetramer of acetaldehyde widely used as a molluscicide in large-scale agriculture and in gardens, and which has been frequently observed to breach European regulatory limits in the UK due to its high solubility and frequent use. Here, we examine the controls on metaldehyde adsorption onto activated phenolic carbon, namely the influence of activation degree, pore size distribution, particle size, point of zero charge and surface functionalisation, by synthesising “tailored” carbons from phenolic resin. Metaldehyde adsorption has been found to be independent of specific surface area (SBET), which is highly unusual for an adsorption process, and is favoured in carbons with (a) high microporosity with narrow pore size distribution, (b) presence of mesopores which allow efficient diffusive transport, and (c) an absence of negatively charged functional groups. The maximum adsorption capacity of the phenolic resin-derived carbons, tested at an elevated (i.e. exceeding environmental levels) water concentration of 64 mg metaldehyde/L, was 76 mg metaldehyde/g carbon compared with 13 mg metaldehyde/g carbon in industrial granular activated carbon (GAC). The phenolic resin-derived carbons and GAC showed similar adsorption kinetics with maximum metaldehyde uptake occurring within 30 min under batch adsorption conditions, although adsorption isotherms indicate much stronger adsorption of metaldehyde on the phenolic resin-derived carbons. Adsorption efficiency for metaldehyde was maintained even in the presence of high background concentrations of organic matter and inorganic salts, indicating the potential utility of these “designer” carbons in waste and/or drinking water treatment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by the EC Seventh Framework Programme Marie Curie Actions and Industry-Academia Partnership and Pathways Scheme [grant number 274985] and Intra European Fellowship [grant number 230676].
Uncontrolled Keywords: metaldehyde; phenolic carbon; water treatment; wastewater
Research Area: Chemistry
Earth systems and environmental sciences
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing (until 2017) > School of Pharmacy and Chemistry
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Depositing User: Rosa Busquets
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2014 14:27
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2014 14:27

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