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Chemical and Spectroscopic Characterization of Humic Acids Extracted from Filter Cake using Different Basic Solutions


Filter cake is a valuable by-product generated during the process of making sugar from sugarcane in factories. The purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of different basic solutions on humic acid extraction rate. Chemical and spectroscopic characterization of humic acids extracted from filter cake has also been investigated. In this research, extraction and chemistry of humic acid have been studied in two separate experiments. In the first experiment, humic acid was taken from filter cake using the IHSS reference method in three concentrations (0.5 M, 1 M and 2 M) of KOH and two preparation liquids (water and vinasses) in the laboratory of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Changes in the extraction rate of humic acid with type and concentration of base solution also were studied. In the second experiment, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and 13C NMR were used to examine the chemistry of humic acid extracted from filter cake by 0.5 M KOH solutions (prepared using distilled water and vinasse). The results indicate that the highest extraction rate of humic acid was obtained when the 2 M KOH made from vinasse solution was used. Elemental analysis results, FTIR and NMR analyses as well as the E4/E6 ratio showed that all samples of extracted humic acid had similar chemical characteristics compared to the reference humic acid.

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We would like to show our gratitude to the Dr. Andy Lo and Dr. Sameer Al-Abdul-Wahid from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center, University of Guelph, for NMR analysis of samples and preparing the methods summary text, Dr. Yuki Audette from Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, for her helpful guidance on humic acid purification and Xiaowei Zhang from School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, for her help in performing laboratory tests. We are also immensely grateful to Dr. Safirzadeh from the research department of Farabi Agri Industry Company for his guidance in all stages of this research.

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Correspondence to Reza Khorassani.

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Behravan, H.R., Voroney, P., Khorassani, R. et al. Chemical and Spectroscopic Characterization of Humic Acids Extracted from Filter Cake using Different Basic Solutions. Sugar Tech (2019).

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  • Filter cake
  • Humic acid
  • Sugarcane
  • Vinasse