Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 23, pp 19159–19166 | Cite as

Adsorptive removal of ascertained and suspected endocrine disruptors from aqueous solution using plant-derived materials

  • Elisabetta LoffredoEmail author
  • Eren Taskin
Research Article


The present study deals with the use of low-cost plant-derived materials, namely a biochar, spent coffee grounds, spent tea leaves, and a compost humic acid, for the adsorptive removal from water of two estrogens, 4-tert-octylphenol (OP) and 17-β-estradiol (E2), and two pesticides, carbaryl and fenuron, each spiked at a concentration of 1 mg L−1. Kinetics and adsorption isotherms have been performed using a batch equilibrium method to measure the sorption capacities of the adsorbents towards the four molecules. Adsorption constants were calculated using the linear, Freundlich, and Langmuir models. Kinetics data obtained evidenced a rapid adsorption of each compound onto both biochar and coffee grounds with the attainment of a steady-state equilibrium in less than 4 h. Significant differences among the adsorbents and the compounds were found regarding the model and the extent of adsorption. In general, the estrogens were adsorbed more quickly and in greater amounts than the less hydrophobic pesticides, following the order: OP > E2 > carbaryl > fenuron. The ranges of Freundlich constants obtained for OP, E2, carbaryl, and fenuron onto the sorbents were 5049–2253, 3385–206, 2491–79, and 822–24 L kg−1, respectively. The maximum values of constants were obtained for biochar, except for OP that was more adsorbed by spent coffee grounds. Adsorption kinetic data followed a pseudo-second-order model, thus indicating the occurrence of chemical interactions between the compounds and the substrates. The remarkable sorption capacities of all adsorbents towards the four molecules suggest the valuable exploitation of these materials for decontamination purposes, such as the treatment of wastewater before a feasible recycle in soil.


Biochar Spent coffee grounds Tea leaves Humic acid Adsorption Estrogen Pesticide 



This work was funded by University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli AlimentiUniversità degli Studi di Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly

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