Mesoporous carbon for efficient removal of microcystin-LR in drinking water sources, Nak-Dong River, South Korea: Application to a field-scale drinking water treatment plant

Jeong Ann Park, Sung Mok Jung, Jae Woo Choi, Jae Hyun Kim, Seungkwan Hong, Sang-Hyup Lee

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Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a growing issue as it is toxic and difficult to remove in drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). Mesoporous carbon (MC) is evaluated as an alternative adsorbent for MC-LR removal and compared with three widely-used powdered activated carbons (PACs). MC was more favorable for MC-LR removal than PACs. MC-LR adsorption on MC was a rapid process (k2 = 1.02 × 10−4 g/μg/min) that completed within 15 min, while adsorption on PACs took 60 min. The maximum adsorption capacity of MC-LR was 18,008 μg/g (MC), which was higher than that of the PACs. Two mechanisms were associated with adsorption: the small hydro-dynamic diameter of MC in an aqueous solution increased the instantaneous attraction of MC-LR to its surface, and the numerous mesopores enhanced pore diffusion. The MC could remove MC-LR to meet the drinking water guidance level (1 μg/L) from an the MC-LR concentration range of 5–20 μg/L in drinking water sources, and 10 min of treatment was sufficient to meet this level (MC dose = 20 mg/L). The field-scale DWTP was operated by adding 1 or 5 mg/L MC to the mixing basin, and 49.49% and 74.50% of MC-LR was removed, respectively. Geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol were slightly reduced when 5 mg/L of MC was applied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1



  • Cyanobacterial bloom
  • Drinking water treatment plant
  • Field-scale study
  • Mesoporous carbon
  • Microcystin-LR
  • Pore diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

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