Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 29, pp 29325–29334 | Cite as

Crude oil removal from aqueous solution using raw and carbonized Xanthoceras sorbifolia shells

  • Linan Liu
  • Lihua WangEmail author
  • Wenhong Song
  • Liang Yang
  • Liming Yin
  • Shaopan Xia
  • Hailong Wang
  • Peter James Strong
  • Zhaoliang SongEmail author
Research Article


Fruit shell residue from Xanthoceras sorbifolia was investigated as a potential biosorbent to remove crude oil from aqueous solution. The shell powder and its carbonized material were compared while assessing various factors that influenced oil removal capacity. The structure and sorption mechanism were characterized using scanning electron microscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The oil removal capacity of the raw material (75.1 mg g−1) was better than the carbonized material (49.5 mg g−1). The oil removal capacity increased with greater saponin content, indicating that hydrophobic and lipophilic surface characteristics of the saponins improved adsorption by the raw X. sorbifolia shell. An orthogonal experimental design was used to optimize the adsorption. Using 4 g L−1 of raw X. sorbifolia shell (particle size of < 0.15 mm), the highest crude oil removal efficiency was obtained using an initial oil concentration of 400 mg L−1, adsorption temperature of 30 °C, adsorption time of 10 min at a shaking speed of 150 rpm. The adsorption of crude oil onto X. sorbifolia shell was best described using a pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Raw X. sorbifolia shell material was more efficient than the carbonized material at crude oil removal from aqueous solution. This was attributable to the functional groups of saponins in raw X. sorbifolia shell. This study highlights that some agricultural and forest residues could be a promising source of low-cost biosorbents for oil contaminants from water—without requiring additional processing such as carbonization.


Adsorption kinetics Biosorbents Oily wastewater Physical-chemistry adsorption Saponin 



The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by the National “Twelfth Five-Year” Plan for Science & Technology Support (2012BAD32B08) of China and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2017A030311019).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2895_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)


  1. Abdelwahab O, Nasr SM, Thabet WM (2017) Palm fibers and modified palm fibers adsorbents for different oils. Alex Eng J 56:749–755. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abdullah MA, Rahmah AU, Man Z (2010) Physicochemical and sorption characteristics of Malaysian Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. As a natural oil sorbent. J Hazard Mater 177:683–691. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmad AL, Sumathi S, Hameed BH (2005) Residual oil and suspended solid removal using natural adsorbents chitosan, bentonite and activated carbon: a comparative study. Chem Eng J 108:179–185. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Altmann J, Ruhl AS, Zietzschmann F, Jekel M (2014) Direct comparison of ozonation and adsorption onto powdered activated carbon for micropollutant removal in advanced wastewater treatment. Water Res 55:185–193. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aslam AM, Choudhary A (2017) Removal of oil from seawater using charcoal and rice hull. IOP Conf Ser Mater Sci Eng 263:032007. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura L, Franus M, Józefaciuk G, Franus W (2015) Synthetic zeolites from fly ash as effective mineral sorbents for land-based petroleum spills cleanup. Fuel 147:100–107. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Banerjee SS, Joshi MV, Jayaram RV (2006) Treatment of oil spills using organo-fly ash. Desalination 195:32–39. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chand P, Bokare M, Pakade YB (2017) Methyl acrylate modified apple pomace as promising adsorbent for the removal of divalent metal ion from industrial wastewater. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:10454–10465. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheng Y, Wang L, Faustorilla V, Megharaj M, Naidu R, Chen ZL (2017) Integrated electrochemical treatment systems for facilitating the bioremediation of oil spill contaminated soil. Chemosphere 175:294–299. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deschamps G, Caruel H, Borredon ME, Bonnin C, Vignoles C (2003) Oil removal from water by selective sorption on hydrophobic cotton fibers. 1. Study of sorption properties and comparison with other cotton fiber-based sorbents. Environ Sci Technol 37:1013–1015. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. El-Naas MH, Alhaija MA, Al-Zuhair S (2017) Evaluation of an activated carbon packed bed for the adsorption of phenols from petroleum refinery wastewater. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:7511–7520. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gunatilake UB, Bandara J (2017) Fabrication of highly hydrophilic filter using natural and hydrothermally treated mica nanoparticles for efficient waste oil-water separation. J Environ Manag 191:96–104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gupta VK, Rastogi A (2009) Biosorption of hexavalent chromium by raw and acid-treated green alga Oedogonium hatei from aqueous solutions. J Hazard Mater 163:396–402. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hameed BH, Tan IAW, Ahmad AL (2008) Adsorption isotherm, kinetic modeling and mechanism of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol on coconut husk-based activated carbon. Chem Eng J 144:235–244. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hao WM, Björkman E, Lilliestråle M, Hedin N (2013) Activated carbons prepared from hydrothermally carbonized waste biomass used as adsorbents for CO2. Appl Energy 112:526–532 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hassanshahian M, Emtiazi G, Caruso G, Cappello S (2014) Bioremediation (bioaugmentation/biostimulation) trials of oil polluted seawater: a mesocosm simulation study. Mar Environ Res 95:28–38. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ho Y, McKay G (1999) Pseudo-second order model for sorption processes. Process Biochem 34:451–465. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jacquin L, Dybwad C, Rolshausen G, Hendry AP, Reader SM (2017) Evolutionary and immediate effects of crude-oil pollution: depression of exploratory behaviour across populations of Trinidadian guppies. Anim Cogn 20:97–108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kumar KV (2006) Linear and non-linear regression analysis for the sorption kinetics of methylene blue onto activated carbon. J Hazard Mater 137:1538–1544. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li J, Zu YG, Fu YJ, Yang YC, Li SM, Li ZN, Wink M (2010) Optimization of microwave-assisted extraction of triterpene saponins from defatted residue of yellow horn (Xanthoceras sorbifolia Bunge.) kernel and evaluation of its antioxidant activity. Innovative Food Sci Emerg Technol 11:637–643. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li J, Luo M, Zhao CJ, Li CY, Wang W, Zu YG, Fu YJ (2013) Oil removal from water with yellow horn shell residues treated by ionic liquid. Bioresour Technol 128:673–678. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu LN, Wang LH, Yin LM, Song WH, Yu JH, Liu Y (2014) Effects of different solvents on the surface acidic oxygen-containing functional groups on Xanthoceras sorbifolia shell. BioResources 9:2248–2258. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matuana LM, Balatinecz JJ, Sodhi RNS, Park CB (2001) Surface characterization of esterified cellulosic fibers by XPS and FTIR spectroscopy. Wood Sci Technol 35:191–201. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mutairi MSA (2016) Development and evaluation of a remediation strategy for the oil lakes of Kuwait. School of civil engineering and surveying. Doctoral Thesis University of Portsmouth. United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  25. Nidhina N, Muthukumar SP (2015) Antinutritional factors and functionality of protein-rich fractions of industrial guar meal as affected by heat processing. Food Chem 173:920–926. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Osin OA, Yu TY, Lin SJ (2017) Oil refinery wastewater treatment in the Niger Delta, Nigeria: current practices, challenges, and recommendations. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:22730–22740. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pacwa-Płociniczak M, Płaza GA, Piotrowska-Seget Z, Cameotra SS (2011) Environmental applications of biosurfactants: recent advances. Int J Mol Sci 12:633–654. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paria S, Khilar KC (2004) A review on experimental studies of surfactant adsorption at the hydrophilic solid-water interface. Adv Colloid Interf Sci 110:75–95. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pekdemir T, Copur M, Urum K (2005) Emulsification of crude oil-water systems using biosurfactants. Process Saf Environ Prot 83:38–46. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rajakovic V, Aleksic G, Radetic M, Rajakovic L (2007) Efficiency of oil removal from real wastewater with different sorbent materials. J Hazard Mater 143:494–499. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ribeiro TH, Smith RW, Rubio J (2000) Sorption of oils by the nonliving biomass of a Salvinia sp. Environ Sci Technol 34:5201–5205. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Said AE, Ludwick AG, Aglan HA (2009) Usefulness of raw bagasse for oil absorption: a comparison of raw and acylated bagasse and their components. Bioresour Technol 100:2219–2222. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sewu DD, Boakye P, Jung H, Woo SH (2017) Synergistic dye adsorption by biochar from co-pyrolysis of spent mushroom substrate and Saccharina japonica. Bioresour Technol 244:1142–1149. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shi MJ, Tang CG, Yang XD, Zhou JL, Jia F, Han YX, Li ZY (2017) Superhydrophobic silica aerogels reinforced with polyacrylonitrile fibers for adsorbing oil from water and oil mixtures. RSC Adv 7:4039–4045. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sidik SM, Jalil AA, Triwahyono S, Adam SH, Satar MAH, Hameed BH (2012) Modified oil palm leaves adsorbent with enhanced hydrophobicity for crude oil removal. Chem Eng J 203:9–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Simonin JP (2016) On the comparison of pseudo-first order and pseudo-second order rate laws in the modeling of adsorption kinetics. Chem Eng J 300:254–263. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Singh V, Kendall RJ, Hake K, Ramkumar S (2013) Crude oil sorption by raw cotton. Ind Eng Chem Res 52:6277–6281. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skouteris G, Saroj D, Melidis P, Hai FI, Ouki S (2015) The effect of activated carbon addition on membrane bioreactor processes for wastewater treatment and reclamation – a critical review. Bioresour Technol 185:399–410. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Srinivasan A, Viraraghavan T (2008) Removal of oil by walnut shell media. Bioresour Technol 99:8217–8220. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sun XF, Sun RC, Sun JX (2003) A convenient acetylation of sugarcane bagasse using NBS as a catalyst for the preparation of oil sorption-active materials. J Mater Sci 38:3915–3923. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sun XY, Shan RF, Li XH, Pan JH, Liu X, Deng RN, Song JY (2017) Characterization of 60 types of Chinese biomass waste and resultant biochars in terms of their candidacy for soil application. GCB Bioenergy 9:1423–1435. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Urum K, Pekdemir T (2004) Evaluation of biosurfactants for crude oil contaminated soil washing. Chemosphere 57:1139–1150. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Urum K, Grigson S, Pekdemir T, McMenamy S (2006) A comparison of the efficiency of different surfactants for removal of crude oil from contaminated soils. Chemosphere 62:1403–1410. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vollaard B (2017) Temporal displacement of environmental crime: evidence from marine oil pollution. J Environ Econ Manag 82:168–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wahi R, Chuah LA, Choong TSY, Ngaini Z, Nourouzi MM (2013) Oil removal from aqueous state by natural fibrous sorbent: an overview. Sep Purif Technol 113:51–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang JT, Zheng YA, Wang AQ (2012) Effect of kapok fiber treated with various solvents on oil absorbency. Ind Crop Prod 40:178–184. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wang JT, Zheng YA, Wang AQ (2013) Coated kapok fiber for removal of spilled oil. Mar Pollut Bull 69:91–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang ZX, Barford JP, Hui CW, Mckay G (2015) Kinetic and equilibrium studies of hydrophilic and hydrophobic rice husk cellulosic fibers used as oil spill sorbents. Chem Eng J 281:961–969. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weber WJ, Morris JC (1963) Kinetics of adsorption on carbon from solution. J Sanit Eng Div Am Soc Civil Eng 89:31–59Google Scholar
  50. Wei QF, Mather RR, Fotheringham AF (2005) Oil removal from used sorbents using a biosurfactant. Bioresour Technol 96:331–334. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wu W, Li J, Lan T, Müller K, Niazi NK, Chen X, Xu S, Zheng L, Chu Y, Li J, Yuan G, Wang H (2017) Unraveling sorption of lead in aqueous solutions by chemically modified biochar derived from coconut fiber: a microscopic and spectroscopic investigation. Sci Total Environ 576:766–774. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wuana RA, Nnamonu LA, Idoko JO (2015) Sorptive removal of phenol from aqueous solution by ammonium chloride-treated and carbonized moringa oleifera seed shells. Int J Sci Res 4:594–602Google Scholar
  53. Yang X, Lu K, McGrouther K, Che L, Hu G, Wang Q, Liu X, Shen L, Huang H, Ye Z, Wang H (2017) Bioavailability of cd and Zn in soils treated with biochars derived from tobacco stalk and dead pigs. J Soils Sediments 17:751–762. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yao ZY, Wang LH, Qi JH (2009) Biosorption of methylene blue from aqueous solution using a bioenergy forest waste: Xanthoceras sorbifolia seed coat. CLEAN - Soil Air Water 37:642–648. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yao Q, Zhao PH, Li R, Li CZ, Luo Y, Zhou GZ, Yang ML (2017) Fabrication of recyclable carbonized asphalt-melamine sponges with high oil-absorption capability. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 92:1415–1420. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yousef RI, El-Eswed B, Al-Muhtaseb AH (2011) Adsorption characteristics of natural zeolites as solid adsorbents for phenol removal from aqueous solutions: kinetics, mechanism, and thermodynamics studies. Chem Eng J 171:1143–1149. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zadaka-Amir D, Bleiman N, Mishael YG (2013) Sepiolite as an effective natural porous adsorbent for surface oil-spill. Microporous Mesoporous Mater 169:153–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhang WB, Qian XB, Ma LF (2009) Adsorption properties of bamboo charcoal under different carbonized temperatures for heavy metal ions. J Nanjing Forestry Univ 33:20–24 Google Scholar
  59. Zhang S, Zu YG, Fu YJ, Luo M, Liu W, Li J, Efferth T (2010) Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of seed oil from yellow horn (Xanthoceras sorbifolia Bunge.) and its anti-oxidant activity. Bioresour Technol 101:2537–2544. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zhang XT, Hao YN, Wang XM, Chen ZJ, Li C (2016) Competitive adsorption of cadmium(II) and mercury(II) ions from aqueous solutions by activated carbon from Xanthoceras sorbifolia Bunge hull. J Chem 1:1–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhu L, Wang Y, Wang YX, You LJ, Shen XQ, Li SJ (2017) An environmentally friendly carbon aerogels derived from waste pomelo peels for the removal of organic pollutants/oils. Microporous Mesoporous Mater 241:285–292. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lihua Wang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenhong Song
    • 2
  • Liang Yang
    • 3
  • Liming Yin
    • 2
  • Shaopan Xia
    • 1
  • Hailong Wang
    • 4
    • 5
  • Peter James Strong
    • 6
  • Zhaoliang Song
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Surface-Earth System ScienceTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Institute of Applied EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Land and EnvironmentShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina
  4. 4.School of Environment and Chemical EngineeringFoshan UniversityFoshanChina
  5. 5.School of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang A&F UniversityZhejiangChina
  6. 6.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations