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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGING LIMITED IRRIGATION AND RAINFALL FOR CROP PRODUCTION IN SEMI-ARID ENVIRONMENTS Title: Modifying Polymer Flocculants for the Removal of Inorganic Phophate from Water

Authors
item Goebel, Tim
item Mckinnes, Kevin -
item Lascano, Robert
item Marchand, Lucas -
item Davis, Todd -

Submitted to: Tetrahedron Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 27, 2011
Publication Date: October 12, 2011
Citation: Goebel, T.S., Mckinnes, K., Lascano, R.J., Marchand, L., Davis, T. 2011. Modifying polymer flocculants for the removal of inorganic phophate from water. Tetrahedron Letters. 52(41): 5241-5244.

Interpretive Summary: Phosphorus (P) is a key element necessary for growth of plants and animals and phosphates [PO4] are derived from this element. Phosphates enter waterways from human and animal waste, phosphorus rich bedrock, laundry, industrial effluents, and fertilizer runoff. These phosphates may become detrimental if they are washed into bodies of water leading to eutrophication, a process where excess nutrients in the water stimulate excessive growth of aquatic plants, mainly algae. Therefore methods to remove PO4 from water are needed and removal methods are divided into physical, chemical and biological treatments. Physical treatments include filtration for particulate P and membrane technologies. Chemical treatments include precipitation and biological treatments include assimilation and enhanced biological P removal. In this paper we describe a method that removes P in water using the chemical thiourea. We describe the development of a thiourea-based monomer that was used to create a new polymer that flocculates suspended solid material as well as sorb phosphate, removing both from solution. The new polymer removed more than 60% of the phosphate from a simulated water sample. The addition of the new chemical more than doubled the amount of phosphate removed from solution compared to control polymers.

Technical Abstract: Due to strong hydrogen bonding interactions, thiourea has been shown to have a high affinity for anions such as inorganic phosphate. The interaction between phosphate and thiourea has been used to develop technologies that can detect and even remove phosphate from water. This research investigates the use of thiourea derivatized polymer flocculants for the sequestering of inorganic phosphate in water. The study presented herein describes the development of a thiourea based monomer that was used to create a new bifunctional polymer that flocculates suspended solid material as well as sorb phosphate, removing both from solution. The new polymer removed more than 60% of the phosphate from a simulated water sample. The addition of a thioureatrapping group to the polymer more than doubled the amount of phosphate removed from solution compared to control polymers.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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