Remediation of Spent Vegetable Tannins from Waste Tanning Liquor through Coagulation and Ultrasound Pre-Treatment A Sustainable Approach

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Resmi Mohan
R. Muthukumar
R. Shivaji Ganesan
S. Shrividhya
Venkatasubramanian Sivakumar


Vegetable tanning is one of the oldest methods of tanning. Vegetable tannins present in spent tanning liquor necessitates suitable remediation measures for sustainable solution. Vegetable tanning agent, wattle extract powder and vegetable tanning process spent liquor collected from a commercial tannery were used for the experiments. In the present approach, natural clay has been employed for the coagulation of spent vegetable tannins. Various other suitable precipitating agents such as zinc chloride (ZnCl2), barium chloride (BaCl2), ferric alum, lime and poly-electrolyte have also been studied for their efficacy in the treatment process and their requirement optimized. The efficacy of coagulation was monitored through settling characteristics of precipitation process and % settled volume for a given time. In the case of wattle powder, better settling of tannins was obtained due to combined use of optimized amount of clay and ZnCl2. Whereas, ultrasound pre-treatment provided further enhancement. In the case of spent tannery vegetable tanning liquor, ultrasound pre-treatment of polyelectrolyte along with optimized amount of normal lime, clay and ferric alum provided rapid settling behavior, with steady state achieved in 20 minutes with settled volume of ~10 ml. Similar trend was also achieved (10 ml, 8 min.) for ultrasound pre-treated optimized clay with the use of other agents as normal. There was a significant reduction in particle size of clay (from 539 nm to 298 nm) through ultrasound pre-treatment (20 min.), leading to more surface area facilitating the coagulation process. This method could be useful for remediation of vegetable tannins present in spent vegetable tanning liquors using available natural material clay and shall also be extended to other streams. The present study has explored the ultrasound assisted coagulation science and technology for remediation of wastewater in general, whereas, spent vegetable tanning liquor in specific.

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