Synthesis and characterization of eco-friendly cellulose beads for copper (II) removal from aqueous solutions

  • Najeh Maaloul
  • Paula Oulego
  • Manuel RenduelesEmail author
  • Achraf Ghorbal
  • Mario Díaz
Advances in Water and Wastewater Pollutant Elimination


In this study, novel cellulose-bead-based biosorbents (CBBAS) were successfully synthesized from almond shell using a simple three-step process: (i) dissolution of bleached almond shell in ionic liquid (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride), (ii) coagulation of cellulose-ionic liquid solution in water and (iii) freeze-drying. Their morphological, structural and physicochemical properties were thoroughly characterized. These biomaterials exhibited a 3D-macroporous structure with interconnected pores, which provided a high number of adsorption sites. It should be noted that CBBAS biosorbents were efficiently employed for the removal of copper (II) ions from aqueous solutions, showing high adsorption capacity: 128.24 mg g−1. The biosorption equilibrium data obtained were successfully fitted to the Sips model and the kinetics were suitably described by the pseudo-second-order model. Besides, CBBAS biosorbents can be easily separated from the solution for their subsequent reuse, and thus, they represent a method for the removal of copper (II) from aqueous solutions that is not only eco-friendly but also economical.


Adsorption isotherms biosorbents bleached almond shell eco-friendly kinetics novel cellulose beads 



Toth isotherm constant (mg L−1)


Brunauer–Emmett Teller




Breakthrough curve


Boundary layer thickness constant, (mg g−1)


Initial concentration, (mg L−1)


Cellulose beads from bleached almond shell


Equilibrium concentration, (mg L−1)


Heavy metal concentration at time t, (mg L−1)


Derivative thermogravimetric analysis


Mean free energy of adsorption for each molecule of the adsorbate, (kJ mol−1)


Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy


Peak intensity of the crystalline part, dimensionless


Counter reading at a peak intensity of the amorphous material, dimensionless


Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer


Rate constant of the pseudo-first kinetic model, (min−1)


Rate constant of the pseudo-second kinetic model, (g mg−1 min−1)


Dubinin–Radushkevich constant related to the sorption energy, (mol2 kJ−2)


Freundlich constant, (mg g−1) (L mg−1)1/nF


Langmuir isotherm constant, (L g−1)


Intraparticle diffusion rate constant, (mg g−1 min−0.5)


Redlich–Peterson isotherm constant, (L mg−1)


Affinity constant of Sips model, (L mg−1)


Toth isotherm constant (L mg−1)


Number of experimental data, dimensionless


Heterogeneity factor of Freundlich model, dimensionless


Sips parameter related to the heterogeneity of the adsorption system, dimensionless


Heterogeneity factor of Toth model, dimensionless


Point zero charge, dimensionless


Calculated value of metal adsorbed, (mg g−1)


Adsorption capacity in the Dubinin–Radushkevich model, (mg g−1)


Equilibrium adsorption capacity, (mg g−1)


Calculated amount of adsorbed Cu(II) ion at equilibrium, (mg g−1)


Experimental amount of adsorbed Cu(II) ion at equilibrium, (mg g−1)


Experimental value of metal adsorbed, (mg g−1)


Maximum adsorption capacity in the Sips model, (mg g−1)


Maximum adsorption capacity of the adsorbent, (mg g−1)


Adsorption capacity of the regenerated adsorbents, (mg g−1)


Adsorbed amount of Cu(II) ions at a given time, t (mg g−1)


Universal gas constant, (8.314 J mol−1 K−1)


Coefficient of determination, dimensionless


Removal efficiency, (%)


Type of Langmuir isotherm, dimensionless


BET surface areas, (m2 g−1)


Scanning electron microscopy


Swelling ratio, (%wt)


Time, (min)


Absolute temperature, (K)


Thermogravimetric analysis


Volume of the solution, (mL)


Mass of beads in the initial dried state, (g)


Mass of the beads in swollen state, (g)


Reduced chi-square error, dimensionless


X-ray diffraction


Redlich–Peterson isotherm exponent, dimensionless


Dubinin−Radushkevich adsorption potential, (kJ mol−1)


Difference between initial pH and final pH, dimensionless



Technical assistance from the Scientific-Technical Services of the University of Oviedo is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3812_MOESM1_ESM.docx (115 kb)
ESM 1 N2 adsorption–desorption isotherms of BAS and CBBAS is depicted in Fig. A1; determination of the pHPZC value of CBBAS adsorbent is presented in Fig. A2 and adsorption–desorption cycles of CBBAS adsorbent are shown in Fig. A3. (DOCX 115 kb)


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Thermodynamic Research Unit UR11ES80, National Engineering School of GabesUniversity of GabesGabesTunisia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology of GabesUniversity of GabesGabesTunisia

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