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Among several Puerto Rican algae, Sargassum sp. (SG) and Chaetomorpha (CM) showed the highest phenol adsorption capacity from aqueous solutions and were used in optimized adsorption batch experiments at room temperature. The effects of pH, adsorbent dose, phenol concentration, salinity and presence of interfering substances were evaluated. Initial solution pH exhibited a strong effect, mainly on the phenol aqueous chemistry; showing the maximum adsorption at pH 10. Sorption isotherm results were modelled according to the Langmuir, Tempkin and Freundlich equations. Isotherm modelling indicated a maximum adsorption capacity (qmax) of 82.10 and 17.7 mg of phenol per gram of SG and CM, respectively. Salinity and presence of detergent in the matrix solution showed a positive effect on the adsorption, suggesting that adsorption of phenol was mostly driven by polar forces and not by ionic exchange. On the other hand, presence of heavy metals like copper, lead and cobalt had a negative effect on the adsorption. According to these results, the potential formation of hydrogen bonds between the algae and phenol is proposed as the main adsorption mechanism. These results provide further insight into the adsorption mechanism of phenol and their use as inexpensive adsorbents for the treatment of phenol-containing wastewaters.


This article originally appeared in Environments, available at DOI: 10.3390/environments4010001

© 2016 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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