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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950

Abstract

BATLOKWA, Bareki S et al. An ion-imprinted polymer for the selective extraction of mercury(II) ions in aqueous media. Water SA [online]. 2012, vol.38, n.2, pp. 255-260. ISSN 1816-7950.

A double-imprinted polymer exhibiting high sensitivity for mercury(II) in aqueous solution is presented. Polymer particles imprinted with mercury(II) were synthesised by copolymerising the functional and cross-linking monomers, N'Â-[3Â- (Trimethoxysilyl)-propyl]diethylenetriamine (TPET) and tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS). A double-imprinting procedure employing hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), as a second template to improve the efficiency of the polymer, was adopted. The imprinted polymer was characterised by FTIR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the average size determined by screen analysis using standard test sieves. Relative selective coefficients (k') of the imprinted polymer evaluated from selective binding studies between Hg2+ and Cu2+ or Hg2+ and Cd2+ were 10 588 and 3 147, respectively. These values indicated highly-favoured Hg2+ extractions over the 2 competing ions. The results of spiked and real water samples showed high extraction efficiencies of Hg2+ ions, (over 84%) as evaluated from the detected unextracted Hg2+ ions by ICP-OES. The method exhibited a dynamic response concentration range for Hg2+ between 0.01 and 20 μg/mℓ, with a detection limit (LOD, 3o) of 0.000036 μg/mℓ (36 ng/ℓ) that meets the monitoring requirements for the USA EPA of 2 000 ng/ℓ for Hg2+ in drinking water. Generally, the data (n=10) had percentage relative standard deviations (%RSD) of less than 4%. Satisfactory results were also obtained when the prepared sorbent was applied for the pre-concentration of Hg2+ from an aqueous certified reference material. These findings indicate that the double-imprinted polymer has potential to be used as an efficient extraction material for the selective pre-concentration of mercury(II) ions in aqueous environments.

Keywords : Ion-imprinted polymer; selective extraction; mercury(II) ion.

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