Sorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to lignin: Effects of hydrophobicity and temperature

Ming Zhang, Mahtab Ahmad, Sang Soo Lee, Li Heng Xu, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The study of the sorption of contaminants to lignin is significant for understanding the migration of contaminants in the environment as well as developing low cost sorbent. In this study, sorption of three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), naphthalene, acenaphthene and phenanthrene, to lignin was investigated. Sorption isotherms were well described by both linear and Freundlich sorption models. Sorption coefficients of PAHs to lignin from water obtained from regression of both linear model (K d) and Freundlich model (K f) were highly positively correlated with hydrophobicity of PAHs. The amorphous structure of lignin provided sufficient sorption domain for partitioning of PAHs, and the attraction between PAHs molecules and aromatic fractions in lignin via π-π electron-donor-acceptor (π-π EDA) interaction is hypothesized to provide a strong sorption force. Thermodynamic modeling revealed that sorption of PAHs to lignin was a spontaneous and exothermic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorbent
  • Biopolymer
  • Biosorption
  • Distribution coefficient
  • Hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs)
  • Soil organic matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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