Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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The utilization of biomaterials in water treatment has been the subject of great interest during the past few decades. These natural
raw materials are attractive since they can be produced from renewable and nontoxic sources. Locally available materials,
industrial byproducts, and even waste materials can be utilized as raw materials. Chemical modification of these raw materials is
required in most cases in order to improve their affinity towards anionic impurities. Thus the biodegradability of products is not
self-evident. We investigated Finnish wood and tree bark materials as well as peat as raw materials in the preparation of anion
exchangers. The anion exchangers were synthesized with epichlorohydrin, ethylenediamine, and triethylamine in the presence
of N,N-dimethylformamide to produce strong anion exchangers that work in a wide pH range. Elemental analyses revealed a
substantial increase in nitrogen content after modification: from 0.8-1.6% to 9.1-9.8% on average. This indicated the attachment
of amine groups onto the biomaterials. The efficiency of the exchangers was tested first with synthetic nitrate solutions, as the
accumulation of nitrates in groundwater is an emerging worldwide problem. Maximum sorption capacities of 24-30 mg/g were
achieved for NO3?N. The highest capacity was achieved with modified pine sawdust. Importantly, modified pine sawdust
maintained its ion exchange ability well for five ion exchange cycles, including successful desorption cycles with sodium chloride.
The results of the study indicate that Nordic lignocellulose materials can be modified into anion exchangers. Further evaluations
of these materials are currently underway with real industrial wastewater.
Tiina Leiviska received her M.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 2001 and a D.Sc. (Tech.) degree in Water Engineering in 2010, both from the University of
Oulu, Finland. Currently, she is working as a researcher in Chemical Process Engineering Laboratory at the University of Oulu. Her research interests
include biological wastewater treatment, coagulation-flocculation, ion exchange, adsorption, and development of water treatment chemicals. She is
currently serving as an editorial board member of the Journal of Bioremediation and Biodegradation.
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