Application of β-Cyclodextrin Adsorbents in the Removal of Mixed Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances


The extensive use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in industrial consumer products has led to groundwater contamination, raising concerns for human health and the environment. These persistent chemicals exist in different forms with varying properties, which makes their removal challenging. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of three different β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) adsorbents at removing a mixture of PFASs, including anionic, neutral, and zwitterionic compounds, at neutral pH. We calculated linear partition coefficient (Kd) values to quantify the adsorption affinity of each PFAS. β-CD polymers crosslinked with hexamethylene diisocyanate (β-CD-HDI) and epichlorohydrin (β-CD-EPI) displayed some adsorption of PFASs. Benzyl chloride β-CD (β-CD-Cl), an adsorbent that had not been previously reported, was also synthesized and tested for PFAS adsorption. β-CD-Cl exhibited higher PFAS adsorption than β-CD-HDI and β-CD-EPI, with log Kd values ranging from 1.9 L·g−1 to 3.3 L·g−1. β-CD-Cl displayed no affinity for zwitterionic compounds, as opposed to β-CD-HDI and β-CD-EPI, which removed N-dimethyl ammonio propyl perfluorohexane sulfonamide (AmPr-FHxSA). A comparison between Kd values and the log Kow of PFAS confirmed the significant role of hydrophobic interactions in thee adsorption mechanism. This effect was stronger in β-CD-Cl, compared to β-CD-HDI and β-CD-EPI. While no effect of PFAS charge was observed in β-CD-Cl, some influence of charge was observed in β-CD-HDI and β-CD-EPI, with less negative compounds being more adsorbed. The adsorption of PFASs by β-CD-Cl was similar in magnitude to that of other adsorbents proposed in literature. However, it offers the advantage of not containing fluorine, unlike many commonly proposed adsorbents.


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adsorption, fluorine-free adsorbents, groundwater contamination, PFAS, β-cyclodextrin


Abaie, E., Kumar, M., Kumar, N., Sun, Y., Guelfo, J., Shen, Y., & Reible, D.. 2024. Application of β-Cyclodextrin Adsorbents in the Removal of Mixed Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. Toxics, 12(4).