In this work, two types of residues (industrial fruit byproducts and agricultural wastes) were studies as promising adsorbents for cadmium uptake. Adsorption experiments using the evaluated biomasses (corn crops CC, palm bagasse PB, orange peels OP, and lemon peels LP) were conducted in batch mode by varying initial solution pH (2, 4, and 6) as well as the particle size (0.355, 0.5, and 1 mm). The optimum operating conditions were defined for further adsorption tests. The biomasses were chemically modified with alumina nanoparticles to evaluate the enhancement in adsorption capacities and how the nature of biomass contributes to successful incorporation of nanotechnology-based materials. The point of zero charges was ranged between 4 and 5 for all biomasses. Simultaneously, the Böehm titration method confirmed the presence of lactonic and carboxylic acid groups on the surfaces of the biomasses. Optimum operating conditions for batch cadmium adsorption experiments were observed at pH 6. Moreover, no significant changes were detected as a function of biomass size. For corn cob and lemon peels, removal percentages at 86 and 88% were reached using particle size = 0.5 mm. For palm bagasse and orange peels, the optimum parameters were 0.355 and 1 mm, respectively. Al2O3 nanoparticles with a crystal size of 58 ± 12 nm were obtained by applying the sol-gel methodology. A higher cadmium removal percentage was detected after using the biomasses modified with the Al2O3 nanoparticles, determining for the agricultural wastes an adsorption capacity of 91% (CC-Al2O3) and 92% (PB-Al2O3). In comparison, the industrial fruit byproducts exhibited a removal percentage of 93% (LP-Al2O3) and 96% (OP-Al2O3). The modification of industrial fruit byproducts (lemon peels and orange peels) showed increases in adsorption efficiencies around 12-6% after incorporating alumina nanoparticles, suggesting that this type of biomass is more suitable for adsorption property enhancement using nanomaterials.
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