Adsorption of trace steroid estrogens to hydrophobic hollow fibre membranes

10 November 2010

This paper discusses adsorption of estrone to microfiltration hollow fibre membrane from aqueous phase using estrone as the model compounds. The partitioning of estrone between membrane and aqueous phase at equilibrium state, the concept of membrane retention towards estrone caused by adsorption, adsorption kinetics, and the application potential of membrane adsorption have been assessed through batch adsorption and dead-end filtration of solution containing trace estrone. The results show that adsorption could result in significant accumulation of estrone on membrane surface. The partition of estrone between membranes and aqueous phase can be characterized by the Freundlich equation. The microfiltration membrane could exhibit high retention to estrone due to adsorption but the retention decrease with the increase in estrone amount accumulated on the membrane surface. Implication of this study is of an important nature, especially in drinking water applications. Contaminants such as natural and synthetic hormones may accumulate on the membranes and desorb during backwash or membrane cleaning. Further studies are needed to address risk issues involved.