Apple peels--a versatile biomass for water purification?

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 May 22;5(10):4443-9. doi: 10.1021/am400901e. Epub 2013 May 13.


The presence of anions such as chromate, arsenate, and arsenite in drinking water is a major health concern in many parts of the world due to their high toxicity. Removal of such anions from water using low cost biomass is an efficient and affordable treatment process. Owing to the easy availability and biodegradability, we chose to use apple peel as a substrate for our investigations. Zirconium cations were immobilized onto the apple peel surface and used for the extraction of anions. Zirconium loaded apple peels were used to extract anions such as phosphate, arsenate, arsenite, and chromate ions from aqueous solutions. The presence of Zr cations on the apple peel surface was characterized using XPS. The modified adsorbent was characterized using SEM, EDS, and FT-IR. Zr treated apple peels showed efficient adsorption toward AsO2(-) (15.64 mg/g), AsO4(3-) (15.68 mg/g), Cr2O7(2-) (25.28 mg/g), and PO4(3-) (20.35 mg/g) anions. The adsorption and desorption studies revealed the adsorption mechanism involves electrostatic interactions. Anion removal efficiency was estimated by batch adsorption studies. Adsorption kinetic parameters for all anions at different concentrations were described using pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order rate equations. Langumir and Freundlich isotherms were used to validate our adsorption data. Arsenate and chromate anions were strongly adsorbed at the pH range from 2 to 6, while arsenite was extracted efficiently between pH 9 and 10. Overall, the Zr immobilized apple peel is an efficient adsorbent for common anionic pollutants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Biomass*
  • Kinetics
  • Malus*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Water / chemistry*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Water