Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 20, pp 20154–20168 | Cite as

Hexavalent chromium removal from aqueous solution using functionalized chitosan as a novel nano-adsorbent: modeling and optimization, kinetic, isotherm, and thermodynamic studies, and toxicity testing

  • Hassan Aslani
  • Tayebeh Ebrahimi Kosari
  • Simin NaseriEmail author
  • Ramin Nabizadeh
  • Mohammad Khazaei
Research Article


Hexavalent chromium is a highly toxic metal that can enter drinking water sources. Chitosan, which contains amino and hydroxyl functional groups, is considered an appropriate candidate to remove heavy metals through absorption. In this study, a novel adsorbent, magnetic nanoparticles of chitosan modified with polyhexamethylene biguanide (Ch-PHMB NPs) was synthesized and was used to successfully remove chromium from aqueous solution. Quadratic models with independent variables including pH, adsorbent dosage, time, and the initial concentration of chromium were proposed through RSM to describe the behavior of both magnetic chitosan (M-Ch) and Ch-PHMB NPs in Cr(VI) removal. Optimized models with adjusted R2 values of 0.8326 and 0.74 for M-Ch and Ch-PHMB NPs were developed. Cr(VI) removal from aqueous solution by both absorbents followed pseudo-second-order kinetics. The experimental data were best fitted to the Temkin and Freundlich models for M-Ch and Ch-PHMB NPs, respectively. M-Ch and Ch-PHMB NPs can effectively remove the hexavalent chromium from aqueous solution with pH above 7. Ch-PHMB NPs have higher removal efficiency than M-Ch, removing up to 70% of Cr(VI) from aqueous solution. However, toxicity evaluation on Daphnia magna revealed that Ch-PHMB NPs was more toxic than M-Ch nanoparticles.


Chromium (VI) adsorption Chitosan Ch-PHMB nanoparticles Toxicity evaluation Response surface methodology D. magna 





Initial concentration of chromium solution


Equilibrium concentration of chromium solution


Central composite design


Magnetic nanoparticles of chitosan modified with PHMB.

D. magna

Daphnia magna


Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy


Lack of fit


Magnetic chitosan




Polyhexamethylene biguanide


Response surface methodology


Scanning electron microscope


Thermogravimetric analysis


Volume of chromium solution


Weight of the adsorbent


pH (dimensionless)


Adsorbent dose




Initial concentration of chromium


Variables of action, termed factors


X-ray diffraction


Response of the system–adsorption of chromium (%)



This research was a part of a master’s thesis at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The authors would like to thank all the staff in the chemistry laboratory of the Department of Environmental Health Engineering for their assistance.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2023_MOESM1_ESM.doc (73 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 73 kb)
11356_2018_2023_MOESM2_ESM.doc (286 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 286 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassan Aslani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tayebeh Ebrahimi Kosari
    • 3
  • Simin Naseri
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Ramin Nabizadeh
    • 3
    • 5
  • Mohammad Khazaei
    • 6
  1. 1.Health and Environment Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of HealthTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Center for Water Quality Research, Institute for Environmental Research (IER)Tehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  5. 5.Center for Air Quality Research, Institute for Environmental Research (IER)Tehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  6. 6.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School HealthHamadan University of Medical SciencesHamadanIran

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