Cucumber peel bead biosorbent for multi-ion decontamination of drinking water collected from a mine region in New Zealand

Environ Technol. 2021 Jun;42(16):2461-2477. doi: 10.1080/09593330.2019.1703824. Epub 2019 Dec 23.


Cucumber peel as a bead was examined for its ability to remove heavy metals from drinking water. Deionised laboratory water was spiked with seven toxic ions namely, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, lead and nickel at 0.1 mg L-1 and kinetic studies were performed over 72 h. Kinetic data were modelled using film diffusion, pore diffusion, Weber-Morris, pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and Elovich equation. The bead surface was imaged before and after biosorption using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Results indicated that different ions contained in a multi-ion solution were biosorbed by different mechanisms and at different rates. Equilibrium biosorption for Cd, Hg and Ni was ∼91, 90 and 67%, respectively, at 24 h. These ions diffused through the pores of the bead, as they were not identified by EDS, and their biosorption increased with an increase in temperature. The least biosorbed ions were As and Cr with ∼21 and 17% equilibrium biosorption, respectively. The removal of only Cu, Hg, Pb and Ni was pH-dependent. Cucumber peel beads removed all spiked ions from real drinking water collected near the Macraes gold mine in New Zealand, but the biosorption percentage was lower for Cd, Cu, Pb and Ni compared to spiked deionised laboratory water. The results of this study suggest that cucumber peel when immobilised on a sodium alginate bead can be used as a potential biosorbent for the removal of multiple toxic ions from drinking water and their use warrants further examination in contaminated drinking water.

Keywords: Cucumber peel; alginate bead; biosorption; drinking water; heavy metals.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Cadmium
  • Cucumis sativus*
  • Decontamination
  • Drinking Water*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ions
  • Kinetics
  • New Zealand
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Drinking Water
  • Ions
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Cadmium