Scientific Insights Into Modified and Non-Modified Biomaterials for Sorption of Heavy Metals From Water

Scientific Insights Into Modified and Non-Modified Biomaterials for Sorption of Heavy Metals From Water

Tawfik A. Saleh (Department of Chemistry, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia), Salawu Omobayo Adio (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia), Prakash Parthasarathy (Independent Researcher, India) and Gaddafi I. Danmaliki (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2136-5.ch002
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Abstract

Adsorption techniques are widely used for the removal of various classes of pollutants from water due to their mild and facile operating conditions. The operations involved in the adsorption techniques are environmentally friendly, economical, highly selective on pollutants, highly efficient and easily operative. However, the adsorption of heavy metals from water using biomaterials (biosorption) is a relatively new and interesting technique which holds a great potential. Its effectiveness in lowering the heavy metals concentration to sub-ppb levels is appealing and has attracted increasing attention. The technique is believed to replace the existing technologies in the near future. This chapter discusses the prospects of biomaterials in the removal of heavy metals from waste water, the modification techniques that can enhance biosorption efficiency, and the factors influencing the biosorption processes.
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2. Pollution And Toxicity Of Heavy Metals

Heavy metals pollution is caused by natural and artificial sources. The volcanic eruptions, erosion of metal deposits and unavoidable atmospheric pollution are the major points of entry of heavy metals naturally into the environment. Nevertheless, nature has an inherent capacity to curtail the impact of natural pollution. Artificial sources of heavy metal pollution are mainly from agricultural activities, tannery operations, mining operations, metal plating activities, production activities of commercial products (e.g. batteries, paints, pigments, glass, ceramics), leachates from landfills and contaminated groundwater, etc. (Förstner and Wittmann 2012). Since the survival and comfort of human beings are directly linked to the above activities, the continuous release of heavy metals into the environment is inevitable.

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