Water research

Adsorption of cellular peptides of Microcystis aeruginosa and two herbicides onto activated carbon: effect of surface charge and interactions.

PMID 21514619


In this research, the adsorption of two herbicides, alachlor (ALA) and terbuthylazine (TBA), on granular activated carbon (GAC) in the presence of well-characterized peptide fraction of cellular organic matter (COM) produced by cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa was studied. Two commercially available GACs were characterized using nitrogen gas adsorption and surface charge titrations. The COM peptides of molecular weight (MW) < 10 kDa were isolated and characterized using MW fractionation technique and high-performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC). The effect of surface charge on the adsorption of COM peptides was studied by means of equilibrium adsorption experiments at pH 5 and pH 8.5. Electrostatic interactions and hydrogen bonding proved to be important mechanisms of COM peptides adsorption. The adsorption of ALA and TBA on granular activated carbon preloaded with COM peptides was influenced by solution pH. The reduction in adsorption was significantly greater at pH 5 compared to pH 8.5, which corresponded to the increased adsorption of COM peptides at pH 5. The majority of the competition between COM peptides and both herbicides was attributed to low molecular weight COM peptides with MW of 700, 900, 1300 and 1700 Da.