Removal of phenanthrene (PHE) from aqueous solution by adsorption onto quaternary ammonium surfactant modified peat was studied. The results show that surfactant modification enhanced the PHE adsorption capacity of peat. Low temperature and neutral pH favored PHE adsorption. Peat modified with long carbon chain surfactant performed better than peat modified with short carbon chain surfactant. The magnitude of PHE adsorption capacity followed the order of MP-HPB>MP-HTAB>MP-TBAB>RP, ranged from 924 to 1,228 μg g(-1). A negative trend between adsorption capacity (y) and (O+N)/C ratio of biosorbent (x) was observed (y = -1,369.6x + 2,176), which confirmed the negative effect of polarity on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) removal. The study provides a guide to modify raw materials to enhance adsorption of hydrophobic organics.
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