Adsorption and detection of some phenolic compounds by rice husk ash of Kenyan origin

Mbui DN, Shiundu PM, Ndonye RM, Kamau GN. "Adsorption and detection of some phenolic compounds by rice husk ash of Kenyan origin.". 2012.


Rice husk ash (RHA) obtained from a rice mill in Kenya has been used as an inexpensive and effective adsorbent (and reagent) for the removal (and detection) of some phenolic compounds in water. The abundantly available rice mill waste was used in dual laboratory-scale batch experiments to evaluate its potential in: (i) the removal of phenol, 1,3-dihydroxybenzene (resorcinol) and 2-chlorophenol from water; and (ii) the detection of 1,2-dihydroxybenzene (pyrocatechol) and 1,2,3-trihydroxybenzene (pyrogallol) present in an aqueous medium. The studies were conducted using synthetic water with different initial concentrations of the phenolic compounds. The effects of different operating conditions (such as contact time, concentration of the phenolic compounds, adsorbent quantity, temperature, and pH) were assessed by evaluating the phenolic compound removal efficiency as well as the extent of their color formation reactions (where applicable). RHA exhibits reasonable adsorption capacity for the phenolic compounds and follows both Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models. Adsorption capacities of 1.53 × 10−4, 8.07 × 10−5, and 1.63 × 10−6 mol g−1 were determined for phenol, resorcinol and 2-chlorophenol, respectively. Nearly 100% adsorption of the phenolic compounds was possible and this depended on the weight of RHA employed. For the detection experiments, pyrocatechol and pyrogallol present in water formed coloured complexes with RHA, with the rate of colour formation increasing with temperature, weight of RHA, concentration of the phenolic compounds and sonication. This study has proven that RHA is a useful agricultural waste product for the removal and detection of some phenolic compounds.

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