FYP Summary Biosorption

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Removal of contaminants using low-cost natural adsorbent in water treatment
In this title, nitrate and heavy metals are the main contaminants to be removed using
low-cost natural adsorbent/non-growing biomass through physical biosorption process.
Biosorption can be defined as the ability of biological materials to accumulate heavy metals
from physico-chemical pathways of uptake. The biosorption process involves a liquid phase
(solvent/water) and a solid phase (biosorbent/adsorbent) containing dissolved species to be
sorbed (adsorbate/metals). There are many types of adsorbents available in abundance such as
Earth’s forest (bark), rice husk, walnut shell, corn kernel, and etc.
Nitrate and heavy metals (lead, chromium, zinc, copper, nickel, and etc.) are the
common groundwater pollutants that causes significant health risk to human and also the
environment. High nitrate (NO3− ) level in drinking water can lead to development of cancers,
whereas heavy metals in water (non-biodegradable) accumulates in living tissues which later
causes various diseases.
Removal of contaminants using low-cost natural adsorbent is much more favourable as
non-living biomass behaves as an ion exchanger, the biosorption process is very rapid (between
several minutes up to several hours). Contaminants (metal) loading is high on the biomass
surface leading to efficient contaminants (metal) uptake. Moreover, non-living biomass have a
wider range of operations such as pH, initial contaminant concentration, adsorbent dosage, and
agitation time.
Some of the low-cost sorbents that been reported in several studies includes bark
(tannin-rich materials/sawdust), chitosan/chitin (exoskeleton of shellfish), zeolites, clay,
industrial waste (slurry/sludge), fruit peels, peanut hulls, shells and etc. Out of all the
adsorbents available, I am interested in using fruit bunch husk (POME), corn kernel, nutshells
type of biomass to carry out this experiment. By using this materials (biomass) that are usually
thrown away, we are actually creating a new value to it by reusing it in biosorption process
instead of using resin which is much more low cost. In short, I would like to participate in this
project to carry out a research on a low-cost adsorbent that can benefit the environment.
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