In this work we show the potentialities of SBA-15 functionalized with (3-aminopropyl)-triethoxysilane (S-APTES) and N-[3(trimethoxysilyl)propyl]aniline (S-Aniline) as adsorbent for the removal of sugars in both analytical and environmental applications. In the former, for the first time, synthesized sorbents were successfully applied in the clean-up step of a QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) extraction of selected micropollutants (13 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAH, and 14 Polychlorinated Biphenyls, PCB, including 4 dioxin-like) from strawberry, a sugar rich fruit. In the latter, the same sorbents were successfully tested for the removal of glucose, fructose and sucrose from wastewaters derived from food and beverages production, for which the removal of the biochemical oxygen demand is a challenging task. Physico-chemical features were derived by nitrogen adsorption, infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. Before each specific application, the adsorption capabilities of SBA-15 sorbents and possible mechanisms of sugars/adsorbent interaction were studied at different pH (2.1-8.5) for three model sugars (glucose, sucrose and fructose) at concentrations characteristic of those found in strawberries and in food and beverages production wastewaters. To what concern the analytical application, the performance of the two SBA-15 sorbents was compared with that of commercial PSA (primary secondary amine), usually proposed in QuEChERS protocols. Both SBA-15 materials exhibit sugar adsorption up to 30% higher than that observed for PSA, suggesting their possible application in QuEChERS approaches. Synthesized SBA-15 adsorbents were hence used as innovative dispersive sorbents in the QuEChERS extractions of PAHs and PCBs from strawberry. For PCBs, S-Aniline provides better matrix removal than PSA and comparable extraction recoveries around 90%. For PAHs, the use of S-Aniline has the advantage of lower relative standard deviation (7%) than PSA (19%). As for the BOD removal from wastewaters, through the study of the best solid-liquid ratio, the optimal experimental conditions were defined and a final removal as high as 80%in simulated soft-drink wastewater was achieved. The results showed that a lower adsorbent dosage is required in respect to current methodologies, representing an advantage especially for disposal procedures of the exhausted adsorbent.
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