Activated Carbon and Clay Minerals for the Sorptive Removal of Denatonium Ions from Denatonium Benzoate Solutions


This study assessed the feasibility of utilizing activated carbon and clay minerals for treating water impacted with the bittering agent denatonium benzoate (DB). Our specific study objectives were to 1) evaluate denatonium ion sorption to smectite clay minerals (bentonite and hectorite) and activated carbon (powdered and granular) at constant pH and ionic strength and 2) examine the impact of pH on denatonium ion sorption to each solid material. The experimental results indicated that high doses (33,000 mg/L) of as-received granular activated carbon and as-received clay minerals completely removed denatonium from aqueous solutions containing 100 - 1000 mg/L denatonium benzoate. Powdered activated carbon at doses of 5 - 100 mg/L exhibited favorable monolayer sorption of denatonium ions from a pH 6.95, 70 mg/L aqueous denatonium benzoate solution with a Langmuir separation factor (r) of 0.481, a maximum sorption capacity (Sm) of 74 mg/g, and a Langmuir constant of 15.3 L/g. A maximum removal of 23% of denatonium was achieved at the highest powdered activated carbon dosage employed. Denatonium ion removal with peroxide treated bentonite and peroxide treated hectorite did not result in complete removal of the ion and exhibited favorable sorption as evidenced by Freundlich 1/n values ranging from 0.803 to 1.194; Freundlich constants (Kf) ranged from 8 ng/L to 575 ng/L. Denatonium ion sorption to peroxide treated bentonite appeared to depend on pH while hectorite sorption of denatonium ions was independent of hydrogen ion concentrations. For powdered activated carbon adsorption, as pH increased denatonium ion sorption decreased. Overall, the work demonstrates that denatonium can be effectively removed from water via activated carbon or clay mineral sorption.

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Crosson, G. , Crosson, K. , Thorpe, S. , MacPherson, L. , Murdock, M. and Smith, B. (2014) Activated Carbon and Clay Minerals for the Sorptive Removal of Denatonium Ions from Denatonium Benzoate Solutions. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 793-803. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.68075.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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