Chromium(VI) sorption efficiency of acid-activated banana peel over organo-montmorillonite in aqueous solutions

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Accepted Manuscript of: Ashraf, A, Bibi, I, Niazi, NK, Ok, YS, Murtaza, G, Shahid, M, Kunhikrashnan, A, Li D & Mahmood, T in press, 'Chromium(VI) sorption efficiency of acid-activated banana peel over organo-montmorillonite in aqueous solutions, International Journal of Phytoremediation.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in International Journal of Phytoremediationw on 16/11/2016, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15226514.2016.1256372

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In the present study, we examined sorption of chromate (Cr(VI)) to acid-activated banana peel (AABP) and organo-montmorillonite (O-mont) as a function of pH, initial Cr(VI) concentration at a sorbent dose of 4 g L(-1) and at 20±1°C in aqueous solutions. In sorption edge experiments, maximum Cr(VI) removal was obtained at pH 3 after 2 hours by AABP and O-mont (88% and 69%). Sorption isotherm data showed that sorption capacity of AABP was higher than O-mont (15.1 vs. 6.67 mg g(-1), respectively, at pH 4). Freundlich and Langmuir models provided the best fits to describe Cr(VI) sorption onto AABP (R(2) = 0.97) and O-mont (R(2) = 0.96). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy elucidated that for AABP mainly the -OH, -COOH, -NH2 and for O-mont intercalated amines and -OH surface functional groups were involved in Cr(VI) sorption. The scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) analyses, although partly, indicate that (wt. %) proportion of cations (e.g., Ca, Mg) in AABP decreased after Cr(VI) sorption. This may be due to ion exchange of chromite (Cr(III)) (produced from Cr(VI) reduction) with cationic elements in AABP. Also, Cr(VI) desorption (using phosphate solution) from AABP was lower (29%) than O-mont (51%) up to the third regeneration cycle. This bench scale comparative study highlights that the utilization of widely available and low-cost acid-activated biomaterials has a greater potential than organo-clays for Cr(VI) removal in aqueous media. However, future studies are warranted to precisely delineate different mechanisms of Cr(VI) sorption/reduction by acid-activated biomaterials and organo-clays.