Evaluation of the employment of eucalyptus bark in the bioadsorption of contaminant petroleum light hydrocarbons in simulated water bodies

ABSTRACT The contamination of water bodies by petroleum and its derivatives has been one of the main environmental problems nowadays and it causes many losses, such as ecological imbalance by damage to fauna and flora, and the reduction of the sunlight availability in the aquatic environment. Given this context, this paper proposed the employing of eucalyptus bark for the removal of petroleum light hydrocarbons (commercial gasoline type C) contaminant in simulated freshwater and saltwater environments. Therefore, it was verified the bark ability in adsorbing organic compounds when it was submitted to the contact with tartrazine, rhodamine B and methylene blue dyes, and the latter two had confirmed the chemical affinity of the biomaterial with carbon compounds. Then, in the adsorption of the simulated contaminant solution, it was evaluated the influences of: the biomass particle size, observing a trend toward better adsorption with the smallest particle size of the material, the water body temperature, that did not appreciably affect the adsorption capacity, and the reaction time, which benefited the adsorption in freshwater environment and reduced when the biomass was in contact with the saltwater. Furthermore, in a comparison among eucalyptus bark and other commercial adsorbents (activated charcoal, vermiculite and diatomaceous earth), it had higher adsorption capacity than all of them, proving to be a promising material for the decontamination of water containing petroleum hydrocarbons