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Fruit Peels as Efficient Renewable Adsorbents for Removal of Dissolved Heavy Metals and Dyes from Water

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2015, 00:00 by Ramakrishna Mallampati, Li Xuanjun, Avner Adin, Suresh Valiyaveettil
Removal of heavy metal ions and dissolved organic compounds present in wastewater is a challenge for many countries owing to high cost of existing technologies and continued increase in water consumption. In this study, three natural materials, avocado, hamimelon and dragon fruit peels, were selected and used as simple and renewable adsorbents for water purification. The presence of surface functional groups such as −CO2H, −OH and morphologies of the peels were characterized using spectroscopic and electron microscopic techniques, respectively. All peals were effective toward removing dyes and toxic metal ions from water. The extraction capacity of peels increased with extraction time and a plateau was reached at equilibrium. Dragon fruit peels showed highest extraction efficiency toward alcian blue (71.85 mg/g) and methylene blue (62.58 mg/g). Hamimelon peels and avaocado peels showed moderate extraction capacity for Pb2+ (7.89 mg/g, 9.82 mg/g) and Ni2+ (9.45 mg/g, 4.93 mg/g) cations. The Langmuir isotherm model was useful to explain the adsorption process, dominated by electrostatic interaction between adsorbent and adsorbates, indicating a monolayer adsorption at the binding sites on the surface of the peels. However, the adsorption model for methylene blue and neutral red is still a matter of conjecture. The adsorbents can be regenerated at acidic pH and could reuse for a few cycles.