Treatment of metal-contaminated wastewater: a comparison of low-cost biosorbents

N. K. Akunwa, M. N. Muhammad, Joseph C. Akunna

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    45 Citations (Scopus)
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    This study aimed to identify some optimum adsorption conditions for the use of low-cost adsorbent, seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum), sawdust and reed plant (Phragmites australis) root, in the treatment of metal contaminated wastewater for the removal of cadmium, chromium and lead. The effect of pH on the absorption capacity of each of these biosorbents was found to be significant and dependent on the metal being removed. Post-adsorption FTIR analysis showed significant binding activities at the nitro Ndouble bond; length as m-dashO groups site in all biosorbents, especially for lead. Competitive metal binding was found to have possibly affected the adsorption capacity for chromium by A. nodosum more than it affected sawdust and P. australis root. Adsorption is believed to take place mainly by ion exchange particularly at low pH values. P. australis root exhibited the highest adsorption for chromium at pH 2, cadmium at pH 10 and lead at pH 7. A. nodosum seaweed species demonstrated the highest adsorption capacity of the three biosorbents used in the study, for cadmium at pH 7 and for lead at pH 2. Sawdust proved to be an efficient biosorbent for lead removal only at pH 7 and 10. No significant effect of temperature on adsorption capacity was observed, particularly for cadmium and lead removal.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-523
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Early online date11 Sep 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014


    • Adsorption capacity
    • Heavy metals
    • pH
    • Reed root
    • Sawdust
    • Seaweed


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