Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 229:360 | Cite as

Groundwater Purification in a Polymetallic Mining Area (SW Sinai, Egypt) Using Functionalized Magnetic Chitosan Particles

  • Mohammed F. Hamza
  • Fadia Y. Ahmed
  • Ibrahim El-Aassy
  • Amr Fouda
  • Eric GuibalEmail author


A magnetic glycine-grafted chitosan sorbent (Gly) was functionalized to produce a hydrazide derivative (HGly). The two sorbents were tested in batch mode for the sorption of a series of 10 metal ions present in the groundwater collected in three wells in the Wadi (valley) Nasib mining area (SW Sinai, Egypt). HGly is much more efficient for metal recovery than Gly. Under selected experimental conditions (sorbent dosage 1.5 g L−1), the sorption efficiency is not sufficient for achieving the standard levels for drinking water: the most problematic metal ions in terms of drinkability remain aluminum (too high metal concentration in the groundwater), cadmium, and chromium for the three wells (and nickel in the case of only one well). Increasing the sorbent dosage improves the treatment efficiency. The sorbent (HGly) was tested in fixed-bed columns. The breakthrough curves were compared for the different metals for the groundwater collected in the most contaminated of the three wells. The levels of metal concentration in the treated groundwater are too high for direct use in irrigation. However, they are consistent with the standards for livestock drinking water (based on FAO recommendations, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). The metals can be readily desorbed using 0.5 M HCl solutions with a relatively high concentrating effect (i.e., 50 times). The re-use of the sorbent for three successive cycles of sorption/desorption cycles shows a progressive but weak decrease in sorption and desorption performances.


Magnetic chitosan support Glycine derivative Hydrazide-based sorbent Metal-contaminated groundwater Heavy metal removal Drinking water standards Mining area 



The authors acknowledge the French government (through Institut Français d’Egypte) for the post-doc fellowship of Mohammed F. Hamza. They are also grateful to IFE and the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology for funding the IMHOTEP project (METAL VALOR).

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 10736 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.C2MA, IMT Mines AlesUniv MontpellierAlès cedexFrance
  2. 2.Nuclear Materials AuthorityCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Botany & Microbiology Department, Faculty of ScienceAl-Azhar UniversityCairoEgypt

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