The purpose of this work was to analyse the potentialities of an integrated membrane system for the recovery, purification and concentration of polyphenols from olive mill wastewater (OMW). The proposed system included some well-known membrane operations such as microfiltration (MF) and nanofiltration (NF), as well as others not yet investigated for this specific application, such as osmotic distillation (OD) and vacuum membrane distillation (VMD). The OMW was directly submitted to a MF operation without preliminary centrifugation. This step allowed to achieve a 91% and 26% reduction of suspended solids and total organic carbon (TOC), respectively. Moreover, 78% of the initial content of polyphenols was recovered in the permeate stream. The MF permeate was then submitted to a NF treatment. Almost all polyphenols were recovered in the produced permeate solution, while TOC was reduced from 15 g/L to 5.6 g/L. A concentrated solution enriched in polyphenols was obtained by treating the NF permeate by OD. In particular, a solution containing about 0.5 g/L of free low molecular weight polyphenols, with hydroxytyrosol representing 56% of the total, was produced by using a calcium chloride dihydrate solution as brine. The obtained solution is of interest for preparing formulations to be used in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. Besides the OD process, VMD was applied as another way for concentrating the NF permeate and the performance of both processes was compared in terms of evaporation fluxes.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2010
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