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|Title:||Transport mechanism in ionic liquid membranes and the study of thiomersal biodegradation|
|Authors:||Fortunato, Raquel dos Santos|
Resíduos industriais - Tratamento
Tiomersal - Biodegradação
|Abstract:||The initial goal of this work was the development of a supported liquid membrane (SLM) bioreactor for the remediation of vaccine production effluents contaminated with a highly toxic organomercurial – thiomersal. Therefore, two main aspects were focused on: 1) the development of a stable supported liquid membrane – using room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) – for the selective transport of thiomersal from the wastewater to a biological compartment, 2) study of the biodegradation kinetics of thiomersal to metallic mercury by a Pseudomonas putida strain. The first part of the work focused on the evaluation of the physicochemical properties of ionic liquids and on the SLMs’ operational stability. The results obtained showed that, although it is possible to obtain a SLM with a high stability, water possesses nonnegligible solubility in the RTILs studied. The formation of water clusters inside the hydrophobic ionic liquid was identified and found to regulate the transport of water and small ions. In practical terms, this meant that, although it was possible to transport thiomersal from the vaccine effluent to the biological compartment, complete isolation of the microbial culture could not be guaranteed and the membrane might ultimately be permeable to other species present in the aqueous vaccine wastewater. It was therefore decided not to operate the initially targeted integrated system but, instead, the biological system by itself. Additionally, attention was given to the development of a thorough understanding of the transport mechanisms involved in the solubilisation and transport of water through supported liquid membranes with RTILs as well as to the evaluation of the effect of water uptake by the SLM in the transport mechanisms of water-soluble solutes and its effect on SLM performance. The results obtained highlighted the determinant role played by water – solubilised inside the ionic liquids – on the transport mechanism. It became clear that the transport mechanism of water and water-soluble solutes through SLMs with [CnMIM][PF6] RTILs was regulated by the dynamics of water clusters inside the RTIL, rather than by molecular diffusion through the bulk of the ionic liquid. Although the stability tests vi performed showed that there were no significant losses of organic phase from the membrane pores, the formation of water clusters inside the ionic liquid, which constitute new, non-selective environments for solute transport, leads to a clear deterioration of SLM performance and selectivity. Nevertheless, electrical impedance spectroscopy characterisation of the SLMs showed that the formation of water clusters did not seem to have a detrimental effect on the SLMs’ electrical characteristics and highlighted the potential of using this type of membranes in electrochemical applications with low resistance requirements. The second part of the work studied the kinetics of thiomersal degradation by a pure culture of P. putida spi3 strain, in batch culture and using a synthe tic wastewater. A continuous ly stirred tank reactor fed with the synthetic wastewater was also operated and the bioreactor’s performance and robustness, when exposed to thiomersal shock loads, were evaluated. Finally, a bioreactor for the biological treatment of a real va ccine production effluent was set up and operated at different dilution rates. Thus it was possible to treat a real thiomersal-contaminated effluent, lowering the outlet mercury concentration to values below the European limit for mercury effluent discharges.|
|Appears in Collections:||FCT: DQ - Teses de Doutoramento|
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