Removal of lead in water by coagulation flocculation process using Cactus-based natural coagulant: optimization and modeling by response surface methodology (RSM)

Environ Monit Assess. 2024 Feb 8;196(3):244. doi: 10.1007/s10661-024-12412-9.


The aim of this research is to study the ability of Cactus leaves to act as a biocoagulants for the removal of lead in water. Different solvents, such as distilled water, NaCl, NaOH, and HCl, were used as chemical activators to extract the active components from the Cactus. The Cactus was utilized as an organic coagulant in five different forms: (i) Cactus juice (CJ); Cactus extract using (ii) distilled water (C-H2O); (iii) NaCl at 0.5 M concentration (C-NaCl); (iv) NaOH at 0.05 M concentration (C-NaOH); and (v) HCl at 0.05 M concentration (C-HCl). In order to establish the optimal conditions for the coagulation, this study employed the jar test as an experimental technique and the Box-Behnken design (BBD) as an experimental approach. According to BBD, there are three factors (k = 3), namely pH, biocoagulant dosage, and settling time. The R2 and R2 adjusted for all coagulants were close to 100%, confirming the validity of all the mathematical models. The results were significant; the highest lead removal efficiencies were 98.11%, 98.34%, 95.65, 96.19%, and 97.49%, utilizing CJ, C-H2O, C-NaCl, C-HCl, and C-NaOH as natural coagulants. The Cactus has been characterized using FTIR, XRD, and SEM to identify the active components that remove lead.

Keywords: Box-Behnken design; Cactus leaves; Characterization; Coagulation; Lead; Optimization.

MeSH terms

  • Cactaceae*
  • Drinking Water*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Flocculation
  • Industrial Waste / analysis
  • Lead
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Water Purification* / methods


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Industrial Waste
  • Lead
  • Drinking Water