Nowadays trace organic pollutants represent a major concern in water treatment systems. Activated carbon has been used for most applications aiming at the reduction of these kind of compounds in aqueous effluents, but regeneration needs and high operation costs led to a renewed interest in the search for alternative sorbents. Pine bark is an excedentary raw material from sawmills in Portugal, and therefore a profitable natural resource that has already been successfully tested in the adsorption of organochlorines from contaminated water. This study aims at characterizing the pine bark surface structurally and chemically, to understand the nature of sorption occurring when a trace organic contaminant is present in aqueous effluents. Pentachlorophenol (PCP) was the trace contaminant used in the experiments. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mercury porosimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were the techniques used, in addition to classical chemical analysis and solid phase micro extraction (SPME) prior to gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC‐MS) for PCP quantification. The pine bark proved to be a material of very low porosity, low specific surface area, strong carbon aromatic content probably relative to polyphenols and lignin composition. Sorption experiments showed a good correlation for the linear adsorption isotherm, as well as the desorption experiments. In the conditions tested, the average PCP removal after 24 h was above 98 per cent. This material proved to be an encouraging sorbent for cheap water remediation solutions.
Brás, I., Teixeira Lemos, L., Alves, A. and Fernando R. Pereira, M. (2004), "Application of pine bark as a sorbent for organic pollutants in effluents", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 491-501. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777830410553933
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