Remediation of preservative ethylparaben in water using natural sphalerite: Kinetics and mechanisms

Taicheng An , Yanpeng Gao , Teng Guo , Xiaolin Niu , Na Luo , Jia Chen , Junlang Qiu , Yuemeng Ji , Guiying Li


Received April 03, 2021,Revised , Accepted May 19, 2021, Available online June 17, 2021

Volume 34,2022,Pages 72-80

As a typical class of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs), the environmental transformation and abatement of preservative parabens have raised certain environmental concerns. However, the remediation of parabens-contaminated water using natural matrixes (such as, naturally abundant minerals) is not reported extensively in literature. In this study, the transformation kinetics and the mechanism of ethylparaben using natural sphalerite (NS) were investigated. The results show that around 63% of ethylparaben could be absorbed onto NS within 38 hr, whereas the maximum adsorption capacity was 0.45 mg/g under room temperature. High temperature could improve the adsorption performance of ethylparaben using NS. In particular, for the temperature of 313 K, the adsorption turned spontaneous. The well-fitted adsorption kinetics indicated that both the surface adsorption and intra-particle diffusion contribute to the overall adsorption process. The monolayer adsorption on the surface of NS was primarily responsible for the elimination of ethylparaben. The adsorption mechanism showed that hydrophobic partitioning into organic matter could largely govern the adsorption process, rather than the ZnS that was the main component of NS. Furthermore, the ethylparaben adsorbed on the surface of NS was stable, as only less than 2% was desorbed and photochemically degraded under irradiation of simulated sunlight for 5 days. This study revealed that NS might serve as a potential natural remediation agent for some hydrophobic EOCs including parabens, and emphasized the significant role of naturally abundant minerals on the remediation of EOCs-contaminated water bodies.

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