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Exploring the arsenic removal potential of various biosorbents from water

Shakoor, Muhammad Bilal, Niazi, Nabeel Khan, Bibi, Irshad, Shahid, Muhammad, Saqib, Zulfiqar Ahmad, Nawaz, Muhammad Farrakh, Shaheen, Sabry M., Wang, Hailong, Tsang, Daniel C.W., Bundschuh, Jochen, Ok, Yong Sik, Rinklebe, Jörg
Environment international 2019 v.123 pp. 567-579
Syzygium cumini, Trapa, arsenates, arsenic, arsenites, biosorbents, carcinogens, chestnut shells, corn cobs, desorption, developing countries, drinking, drinking water, egg shell, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, filtration, groundwater contamination, models, moieties, pH, public health, scanning electron microscopy, sorption, sorption isotherms, tea, toxicity, wastes, Pakistan
Globally, contamination of groundwater with toxic arsenic (As) is an environmental and public health issue given to its carcinogenic properties, thereby threatening millions of people relying on drinking As-contaminated well water. Here, we explored the efficiency of various biosorbents (egg shell, java plum seed, water chestnut shell, corn cob, tea waste and pomegranate peel) for arsenate (As(V)) and arsenite (As(III)) removal from As-contaminated water. Significantly, egg shell and java plum seed displayed the greatest As(III) elimination (78–87%) at 7 pH followed by water chestnut shell (75%), corn cob (67%), tea waste (74%) and pomegranate peel (65%). In contrast, 71% and 67% of As(V) was removed at pH 4.1 and 5.3 by egg shell and java plum seed, respectively. The maximum As(V) and As(III) sorption by all the biosorbents was obtained, notably for egg shell and java plum seed, after 2 h contact time. Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second order models best fitted the sorption data for both forms of As. The –OH, –COOH, –NH2 and sulfur-bearing surface functional groups were possibly involved for As(III) and As(V) removal by biosorbents. The scanning electron microscopy combined with the energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) analysis showed that the heterogeneous surface of biosorbents, possessing rough and irregular areas, could have led to As sorption. Both As(V) and As(III) were successfully desorbed (up to 97%) from the biosorbents in four sorption/desorption (regeneration) cycles. This pilot-scale study highlights that egg shell and java plum seed have the greatest ability to remove both As species from As-contaminated drinking water. Importantly, these findings provide insights to develop an inexpensive, effective and sustainable filtration technology for the treatment of As in drinking water, particularly in developing countries like Pakistan.