DMAEMA-grafted cellulose as an imprinted adsorbent for the selective adsorption of 4-nitrophenol
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCellulose. 2021, 28, 6481-6498. 10.1007/s10570-021-03920-9
4-Nitrophenol is a highly toxic environmental pollutant. It is a challenge to selectively remove it from a mixture of various pollutants. Herein, we report a study on the selective adsorption of 4-nitrophenol by using molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs). The imprinted polymer was synthesized using cellulose as a framework, onto which, the complex of the imprinting molecule (i.e., 4-nitrophenol) and a candidate material [namely, 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate. DMAEMA] was grafted. The obtained MIP showed an excellent adsorption capacity with good selectivity. Also, the adsorption of 4-nitrophenol by the obtained MIP was fast and the adsorbent exhibited good recyclability. The thermodynamics and kinetics of the adsorption process of 4-nitrophenol by MIP was thoroughly studied, where an otherwise-equivalent non-imprinted polymer was used as a control in the experiments. The selectivity of the MIP adsorbent for 4-niteophenol was evaluated by two types of experiments: (1) adsorption experiments in single-component adsorbate systems (containing 4-nitrophenol, 3-nitrophenol, catechol, or hydroquinone), and (2) competitive adsorption experiments in binary adsorbate systems (containing 4-nitrophenol plus either 3-nitrophenol, catechol or hydroquinone). The selectivity coefficient for 4-nitrophenols was twice of those of other phenols (that were all around 2), indicative of the extent of the affinity of MIPs to these phenolic compounds. The recyclability of the adsorbent was evaluated for 5 adsorption–desorption cycles, where the adsorption capacity of the last cycle remained over 90.2% of that of the first cycle.