Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 887–897 | Cite as

Defluoridation of water using activated alumina in presence of natural organic matter via response surface methodology

  • Mohammad Reza Samarghandi
  • Mehdi Khiadani
  • Maryam ForoughiEmail author
  • Hasan Zolghadr Nasab
Research Article


Adsorption by activated alumina is considered to be one of the most practiced methods for defluoridation of freshwater. This study was conducted, therefore, to investigate the effect of natural organic matters (NOMs) on the removal of fluoride by activated alumina using response surface methodology. To the authors’ knowledge, this has not been previously investigated. Physico-chemical characterization of the alumina was determined by scanning electron microscope (SEM), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and X-ray diffractometer (XRD). Response surface methodology (RSM) was applied to evaluate the effect of single and combined parameters on the independent variables such as the initial concentration of fluoride, NOMs, and pH on the process. The results revealed that while presence of NOM and increase of pH enhance fluoride adsorption on the activated alumina, initial concentration of fluoride has an adverse effect on the efficiency. The experimental data were analyzed and found to be accurately and reliably fitted to a second-order polynomial model. Under optimum removal condition (fluoride concentration 20 mg/L, NOM concentration 20 mg/L, and pH 7) with a desirability value of 0.93 and fluoride removal efficiency of 80.6 %, no significant difference was noticed with the previously reported sequence of the co-exiting ion affinity to activated alumina for fluoride removal. Moreover, aluminum residual was found to be below the recommended value by the guideline for drinking water. Also, the increase of fluoride adsorption on the activated alumina, as NOM concentrations increase, could be due to the complexation between fluoride and adsorbed NOM.

Graphical abstract


Fluoride Activated alumina Natural organic matter Response surface methodology 



This research was founded by Hamedan University of Medical Science (Grant No. 9209052865). The authors also would like to thank Mr. Zarrabi for his assistance in analysis of the material.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Reza Samarghandi
    • 1
  • Mehdi Khiadani
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maryam Foroughi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hasan Zolghadr Nasab
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of HealthHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran
  2. 2.School of EngineeringEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.Environment Research CentreIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran

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