Chitin is a natural polymer extracted mostly from shrimp or crab shells and is the Earth’s second most abundant polysaccharide. After a simple deacetylation procedure, chitin is converted into chitosan that consists in a polysaccharide structure of deacetylated-β-glucosamine. Chitosan has been largely employed in wastewater treatment the removal of colloids through coagulation-flocculation processes. Different chitosan based materials have been produced and tested in the removal of inorganic pollutants such as toxic metals and metalloids, nutrients, dyes, micropollutants and hydrocarbons. Sorbents such as magnetic-activated carbon chitosan have been successfully tested in the removal of antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, erythromycin and amoxicillin) from water. Raw chitosan and ZnO nanoparticles entrapped in chitosan have demonstrated an excellent potential for the removal of the insecticide permethrin from aqueous effluents. Chitin and chitosan in flake and powder form have also demonstrated a promising effectiveness in the removal of oil spilled in seawater. Superhydrophobic and superoleophilic sponges modified by thioles have been also prepared from chitosan and used for the removal of oil spills. Chitosan hydrogels have been tested as well as entrapment matrices for the immobilization of hydrocarbon-degrading biomass for oil spills. Strains such as R. corynebacteriorides (QBTo), Bacillus subtilis LAMI008 and B. pumilus have been successfully immobilized and employed in hydrocarbon degradation processes. In this book chapter, the use of chitosan and chitosan-based materials in the removal of organic pollutants from water is reviewed.
Part of the book: Chitin-Chitosan