Roles of membrane and organic fouling layers on the removal of endocrine disrupting chemicals in microfiltration

Wenchao Xue , Kang Xiao , Peng Liang , Xia Huang


Received September 22, 2017,Revised , Accepted January 04, 2018, Available online January 17, 2018

Volume 72,2018,Pages 176-184

To understand the adsorption behavior of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is important for enhancing the treatment performance and preventing potential secondary pollution caused by EDCs desorption in a microfiltration system. The dynamic adsorption of four representative EDCs, namely estriol (E3), 17β-estradiol (E2), 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2), and 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) in a microfiltration system was investigated using the Thomas' model. The product of the equilibrium constant and the total adsorption capacity of the membrane, Ka, for E3, E2, EE2, and 4-NP were 4.91, 9.78, 15.6, and 826, respectively, strongly correlating with the compound octanol–water partition coefficient (KOW). Adsorption appeared to be enhanced when organic fouling formed on the surface of membrane, indicating the role of an additional adsorption column for EDCs acted by a fouling layer in microfiltration. Results of a comparison between the Ka values for clean membrane and fouled membrane illustrated that the significant contribution made by fouling layers may be attributed to the foulant layer's hydrophobicity (in the case of calcium humate layer) and thickness (in the case of calcium alginate layer). This study provided a novel perspective to quantitatively analyze the dynamic adsorption behavior of trace pollutants in membrane process.

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