On the use of hydrophobic biopolymers and hydrophobic biopolymer-coated sands for the removal of naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene from contaminated sediments
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The overall objective of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using a variety of hydrophobic biopolymers and hydrophobic biopolymer-coated sands as technically and economically feasible in-situ sediment amendments or alternative capping materials on a laboratory scale. Cutin from tomato peels, cellulolytic enzyme lignin from sitka spruce chips, and keratin azure from commercially dyed sheeps wool were isolated, prepared, tested, and evaluated as feasible hydrophobic biopolymers for the removal of selected Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Testing included chemical and physical characterization, as well as the measurement of kinetics and equilibrium sorption parameters for the sorbates naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene as model hydrophobic organic contaminants. Tomato peel cutin exhibited the largest overall affinity for PAHs, however, keratin azure was selected for further evaluation as the most feasible material due to its low preparation cost. Amendment of industrial sand with a stable, uniform, cross-linked keratin azure derivative was achieved to produce hydrophobic biopolymer-coated sand products containing zero, moderate, and high mass fractions of sand. Chemical and physical material parameters, as well as kinetics and equilibrium sorption parameters for the sorbates naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene, were then obtained for the coated sand products. This allowed simple finite difference modeling of PAH fate and transport through a thin cap comprised of the same, insight into the specific sorption mechanisms involved, and information which could prove useful in predicting potential of keratin products to provide a suitable capping material. Conclusions and recommendations for future research focus on the technical and economical feasibility of the prepared hydrophobic biopolymers and hydrophobic biopolymer-coated sand products as capping or in-situ sediment amendments.