Investigating the Use of Biosorbents to Remove Arsenic from Water
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Evaluating the ability of biosorbents to remove arsenic from water has global significance due to the widespread availability and low cost of biosorbent materials. In this study, the ability of coffee grounds and coconut substrate (two previously unreported biosorbents) to remove arsenic from water was compared against the performance of arsenic removal on rice husk (a recognized and widely tested biosorbent). The three biosorbents were individually screened for their ability to remove arsenite, As (III), and arsenate, As (V), from water. Batch reactors were employed to assess the percent removal, reaction kinetics, adsorption capacity, and desorption of each arsenic species onto/from biosorbents under pH buffered and non‐buffered conditions. The resulting experimental data was statistically interpreted using analysis of variance and ttesting of the means. The experimental results were also fit to existing kinetic and isotherm models to provide kinetic rate constants, the maximum adsorption capacity, and to help interpret the nature of the reactions on the biosorbent surface. While all three biosorbents removed arsenic with similar initial reaction kinetics (pseudo 1st order reaction rate constant for As (III) was 0.13 hr^‐1 for all three biosorbents and for As (V) was 0.17 hr^‐1 for coffee grounds and rice husk and 0.15 hr^‐1 for coconut substrate), the amount of arsenite and arsenate removed was highest for coffee grounds (84 and 91 percent, respectively), followed by rice husk (68 and 72 percent, respectively), and then coconut substrate (26 and 24 percent, respectively). The maximum adsorption capacity of arsenite and arsenate was determined for coffee grounds (0.66 and 0.70 mg/g, respectively) and rice husk (0.55 and 0.66 mg/g, respectively). While desorption was observed for both coffee grounds and rice husk, the total amount of desorption accounted for less than 15 percent of the total retained mass. The results of this thesis work reveal that coffee can be used as an effective biosorbent when compared to rice husk; however, coconut substrate is less effective than rice husk at removing As (III) and As (V).
Erapalli, Shreyas (2010). Investigating the Use of Biosorbents to Remove Arsenic from Water. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from