This review deals with modification of montmorillonite and other clay-minerals and clays by interacting them with organic cations, for producing slow release formulations of herbicides, and efficient removal of pollutants from water by filtration. Elaboration is on incorporating initially the organic cations in micelles and liposomes, then producing complexes denoted micelle- or liposome-clay nano-particles. The material characteristics (XRD, Freeze-fracture electron microscopy, adsorption) of the micelle– or liposome–clay complexes are different from those of a complex of the same composition (organo-clay), which is formed by interaction of monomers of the surfactant with the clay-mineral, or clay. The resulting complexes have a large surface area per weight; they include large hydrophobic parts and (in many cases) have excess of a positive charge. The organo-clays formed by preadsorbing organic cations with long alkyl chains were also addressed for adsorption and slow release of herbicides. Another examined approach includes “adsorptive” clays modified by small quaternary cations, in which the adsorbed organic cation may open the clay layers, and consequently yield a high exposure of the siloxane surface for adsorption of organic compounds. Small scale and field experiments demonstrated that slow release formulations of herbicides prepared by the new complexes enabled reduced contamination of ground water due to leaching, and exhibited enhanced herbicidal activity. Pollutants removed efficiently from water by the new complexes include (i) hydrophobic and anionic organic molecules, such as herbicides, dissolved organic matter; pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics and non-steroidal drugs; (ii) inorganic anions, e.g., perchlorate and (iii) microorganisms, such as bacteria, including cyanobacteria (and their toxins). Model calculations of adsorption and kinetics of filtration, and estimation of capacities accompany the survey of results and their discussion.
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