Send to

Choose Destination
Water Res. 2002 Dec;36(20):5057-65.

Removal of natural organic matter by ion exchange.

Author information

CSIRO Molecular Science, Clayton South, Victoria, Australia.


Ion exchange is an effective method for removing humic substances from drinking water supplies. We have explored a range of anion exchangers for removal of natural organic matter (NOM), both as isolated from surface waters and after fractionation into four fractions based on hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties. Resins of open structure and high water content are confirmed as the better performers, being very efficient at removal of any charged material, especially that of smaller molecular size. Quaternary ammonium resins containing polar groups are especially effective. The presence of a neighbouring OH group close to the quaternary nitrogen, heteroatoms in the bridge between the exchange site and the polymer backbone, a secondary amino group as the exchange site, or a low ratio of carbon to quaternary nitrogen is beneficial. A suitable balance of polar and non-polar regions in the resin structure appears to be required. Weakly basic amino groups may have a greater affinity for hydrophilic counter ions than quaternary ammonium groups, but generally there are fewer charged sites in the resin at neutral pH. Nevertheless, weak base resins have NOM uptakes nearly as high as strong base resins of similar water content. Water content was found to be the most important parameter, though the effect was less pronounced for strong base resins. For weak base resins of low charge density a non-electrostatic mechanism involving hydrogen bonding of the undissociated acidic species in the NOM to the unprotonated amino groups on the resins is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center