REVIEW PAPER
Low-cost Adsorbents Derived from Agricultural By-products/Wastes for Enhancing Contaminant Uptakes from Wastewater: A Review
Mohamed Sulyman1, Jacek Namiesnik1, Andrzej Gierak2
 
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1Chemical Faculty, Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
2Department of Physical Chemistry, Jan Kochanowski University, Poland
Online publish date: 2017-03-22
Publish date: 2017-03-22
Submission date: 2016-08-23
Final revision date: 2016-11-04
Acceptance date: 2016-11-06
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2017;26(2):479–510
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ABSTRACT
A major threat to the comfort of human life has been imposed by increased industrialization and urbanization. The generation and disposal of huge amounts of toxic materials and pollutants have heavily contaminated our environment. Some Organics such as synthetic dyes (SD) and heavy metals (HM) are becoming increasingly prevalent as the most dangerous pollutants in soil and surface water environments. They are causing great concern worldwide due to their toxicity to many life forms.
Environmentally friendly utilization of agricultural by-products/waste materials either as raw materials or in production of so-called activated carbons (AC) is an important issue. Because it is apparent from our literature review that the main factors characterizing these materials are their affordability, local availability, and efficiencies in removing many unwanted toxics and pollutants, they therefore could be utilized instead of more conventional but expensive adsorbent materials, particularly in developing countries where many industries lack appropriate individual sewage treatment systems; even where they exist, they lack satisfactory functioning and maintenance because of the lack of good budgets.
A number of case studies are supplied in this review. These case studies have pointed to the efficient removal of SD/HM ions from aqueous solutions by the agricultural by-products/wastes in the form of a raw material, signifying spent tea leaves (STL) as a good example. Besides, the efficient removal of such ions by AC produced from these agricultural by-products/wastes has also been given in detail, suggesting a variety of AC agricultural by-products/wastes sources. Both kinds are widely used adsorbents in the treatment of wastewaters. Our review has shown that these adsorbents are characterized by many exceptional physical and chemical features that make them widely used adsorbents in the treatment of wastewaters. The adsorption efficiencies by these substances were also affected by the characteristics of AC, which depend on the physical and chemical properties of the precursor (i.e., agricultural by-products/wastes) as well as on the activation method applied, which is either chemical or physical. The structural properties of the resulting AC can be affected by a number of factors such as time of activation, temperature of activation, and the oxidizing agent used in addition to the starting precursor.
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