Biosorption of heavy metals from sewage effluent using prickly pear cactus

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Research Paper 01/02/2017
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Biosorption of heavy metals from sewage effluent using prickly pear cactus

Sidra Hassan, Asmat Un Nisa, Jalal Ud Din
J. Bio. Env. Sci.10( 2), 16-24, February 2017.
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The practice of environmentally benign agents in the treatment of water is rapidly gaining interest due to their naturally renewable and available character and low harmfulness. Common Mexican cactus produces a gum-like substance, cactus mucilage, which shows excellent flocculating abilities and is an economically viable alternative for low-income communities. Mucilage of Opuntia ficus indica was used as a flocculating agent for heavy metals like Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu) and Chromium (Cr). Biosorption experiment was conducted using two types of treatments i.e. Dice-Cut-Pressed (DCP) cactus treatment and Extracted Mucilage Treatment (EMT). Results showed the mucilage efficiency for adsorbing heavy metals like Pb, Cd, Cu and Ni from wastewater as determined by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy. Nickel and Zn concentration was reduced by 72-77% with both DCP and EMT treatments. The Reduction (%) in Pb was higher than Ni and Zn, i.e., 90% with both extractants. Cd and Cu sorption was almost 100% by both the treatments. When quality of treated and untreated waste water effluent was compared with WHO (World Health Organization) standards for irrigation, treated waste water was found to be nearly fit for the irrigation. Results indicate that both the materials can potentially be used as sorbent for chemical pollutants.


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