Arsenic removal using biosorption with Chitosan : Evaluating the extraction and adsorption performance of Chitosan from shrimp shell waste

by Westergren, Robin

Abstract (Summary)
Nicaragua is a country in which the toxic metal contamination of freshwater resources has become an increasingly important problem in certain regions posing a threat to the environment as well as to human health. Among the metals found in the waters of Nicaragua, arsenic is one of the most problematic since its long time consumption is connected to serious health problems such as cancer and neurological disorders. The arsenic contamination of water recourses in Nicaragua is mostly attributable natural factors, even though anthropogenic activities including gold mining may be a contributing factor.In this work the biopolymer Chitosan was studied as a potential adsorption material for the removal of arsenic from aqueous solutions for water treatment design purposes.The Chitosan used in this study was extracted from shrimp shells with an overall yield of 40% and a deacetylation grade of 59%. The maximum adsorption capacity was determined to 20.9 mg As/g at a controlled pH of 5.5 using the Langmuir isotherm. The adsorption was found to be strongly pH dependant with a fourfold increase in adsorption capacity when pH was well under the pKa of Chitosan. The pH dependence indicates that ionic exchange was the most important mechanism. No difference in adsorption capacity with respect to the initial pH of the solution was detected in the pH range 3-7. This was attributed to the ability of Chitosan to act as a weak base in water solutions.The arsenic was desorbed from Chitosan using NaOH, (NH4) 2SO 4 and NaCl, with a 1M NaOH solution being the most efficient displaying a concentration ratio of 1.08. The NaOH and (NH4) 2SO 4 solutions displayed a steep desorption curvature with a large fraction of the arsenic being easily desorbed. The arsenic was, however, not completely desorbed from the Chitosan implying that the adsorption capacity would decrease for the coming cycles. Being a biopolymer the Chitosan is quite easily degraded in acid and alkali solutions, which might be a limiting step for the process applicability.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:adsorption arsenic chitosan ion exchange isotherm


Date of Publication:02/20/2008

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