A new approach for the evaluation of activated carbon adsorption characteristics in the treatment of water contaminated by toxic organic compounds is presented. It is based on direct determination of the toxicity in the treated water, as opposed to actual chemical analysis of their constituents. The MicrotoxR bioassay, based upon measurement of bacterial bioluminescence, was utilized for this purpose. The suitability of this approach was judged by applying values of residual toxicities, obtained during batch adsorption experiments with mixtures of pure chemicals and industrial wastes, to traditional mathematical models. The Freundlich model was found to describe accurately adsorption isotherms derived from balances of residual toxicities, as well as from residual concentrations of specific chemicals. This approach allows a fast, convenient assessment of selective toxicant adsorption, alleviating the need for complex analytical methods.

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