Nanostructured materials have been recently proposed in the field of environmental remediation. The use of nanomaterials as building blocks for the design of nano-porous micro-dimensional systems is particularly promising since it can overcome the (eco-)toxicological risks associated with the use of nano-sized technologies. Following this approach, we report here the application of a nanostructured cellulose-based material as sorbent for effective removal of organic dyes from water. It consists of a micro- and nano-porous sponge-like system derived by thermal cross-linking among (2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl (TEMPO)-oxidized cellulose nanofibers (TOCNF), branched polyethylenimine 25 kDa (bPEI), and citric acid (CA). The sorbent efficiency was tested for four different organic dyes commonly used for fabric printing (Naphthol Blue Black, Orange II Sodium Salt, Brilliant Blue R, Cibacron Brilliant Yellow), by conducting both thermodynamic and kinetic studies. The material performance was compared with that of an activated carbon, commonly used for this application, in order to highlight the potentialities and limits of this biomass-based new material. The possibility of regeneration and reuse of the sorbent was also investigated.
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